Tag Archives: weapons

My Jesus who carries a big stick

Standard

This past Sunday in church we watched a “human video” (aka a mime or drama set to music) that I have probably watched 100 times in the last 5 years, since we work with youth and host teams of students as well.  It was set to the song by Lighthouse called “Everything”.  Even though I’ve seen it enough times to know exactly what is going to happen, it gets me wiping the tears every time!

It’s the basic story of God’s salvation of humans.  God creates a girl, creates the world full of beautiful things for her enjoyment and teaches her how to live in harmony with himself.  They dance a sweet dance together and as he spins her out, Satan grabs her hand.  He entices her with more daring and seductive dips and twirls, and spins her into one bad crowd after another.  She spirals downwards until she finds herself holding a gun to her head, ready to pull the trigger.

At that point the song reaches its climax and God begins to pull at an imaginary rope that is connected to her, pulling her closer and closer, back to his loving arms.  She wants to come to him, but her old temptations and habits pull her back down, over and over again.  Finally, God has had enough and he steps in between the girl and her tormentors, he fights for her and wins her back!  Though she is beaten and ragged and broken, he holds her tenderly and clothes her in a white robe.

The thing that I like the best about this drama is that God fights for the girl.  It is the primal scream of every girl’s soul to be fought for and rescued.  But as we have emasculated the men of our society, we have diminished our chances of ever being fought for.  At the same time we have also neutralized and sanitized our image of God.  No longer is he the God of the Old Testament who was capable of brutally punishing his enemies and savagely, passionately rescuing his people from bondage.  No longer is he the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he’s more like Alex the Lion from Madagascar.  We have forgotten about the fearsome and awe inspiring Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia- Aslan who is NOT a tame lion, but he IS good.

But here’s the thing, sometimes I walk through very scary places in life.  I find myself in dangerous dark spiritual alleys with bad guys carrying big weapons chasing me through the unfamiliar streets of life.  Sometimes I have to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And when I do, I want a great big God who knows how to handle himself in a fight!  As soon as the battle gets too hot and heavy for me, I want to simply breathe his name in my exhaustion and feel him rushing in to rescue me.  The moment I call his name, the battle becomes his- not mine any longer.

So don’t try to paste a pansy image of God onto my grilled cheese sandwich and expect me to be satisfied with that.  I don’t want Mister Roger’s with me on a dark night, I want William Wallace by my side!  I don’t want the pacifist Jesus.  I want the warrior Jesus… I NEED the Jesus who knows how to snap a whip and flip over a table and beat up the bad guys.  Oh he’s not tame, that’s for sure.  But he IS good.  And that’s the Jesus who fights for me.

“Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4

Got my coffee, got my gun, I’m off to work!

Standard

In Latin America it is very common to see heavily armed men standing outside of grocery stores, banks, and convenience stores.  Even in peaceful Costa Rica, this is normal.  At first it was kind of shocking to see that kind of force so openly displayed in our everyday lives.  But now, it’s kind of become one of those things that I hardly notice anymore.

As a matter of fact, every day on my way to school I pass the head quarters of a security company that specializes in protecting armored cars.  The entire front of the building is one giant barricade, and there are always about a dozen men in full military grade body armor hovering around on the sidewalk.  Each man carries either an automatic weapon appropriate for taking over a small country, or a double barrel shot-gun that looks like it was a prop in a Nicolas Cage movie once upon a time.  Depending on the hour, these guys are either stopping traffic to direct an armored car into the compound or just waiting around on the street for a coup to begin.

The other day I was passing this little slice of intimidation and domination when I noticed one of the younger members of the force jogging across the street obviously late for work.  His intimidating demeanor was askew as he balanced his gun in the crook of his arm.  With a back pack flopping at his hip, and a cup of coffee precariously clutched in the other hand, he looked like a student rushing late to classes.  If it weren’t for the huge gun which hung dangerously from his elbow, I would have easily overlooked him as a university student running to catch the bus.

At first it was funny to see such an incongruent sight, but I’ve been thinking about that guy this past week.  The Bible says that we are in a war and we have been fitted out with a full suit of armor.  Our one weapon is the Word of God.  So I’ve been thinking, do I treat my weapon as casually as this coffee carrying gun slinger or do I maintain a healthy respect for the power I wield? Do I take my Bible seriously, or do I just toss it to the side when something more important (like coffee) is the focus of my attention?  Just something to think about.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and power of this dark word and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand, Stand firm… with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians 6:10-17