Let's Show Some Love
by Rev. Jack Hulsey
God and the soldier we adore/in time of danger, not before./The danger passed and all things righted,/God is forgotten and the soldier slighted. – Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling was never a soldier, but his son John was. John was killed in World War I, and his death inspired the creation of Kipling's poem My Boy Jack. This poem strikes me having certain parallels to the Hulsey family saga: I was never a soldier either, but all three of my sons have served (one is still serving). As for the conclusion to Kipling’s grief, you always have to pray something like that doesn’t happen to your loved one, but when you are a soldier – or soldier’s parent – that's something you have to be prepared for.
Kipling's observation quoted above seems to be as true as ever. It wasn't more than four or five years ago we were having special ministries to send letters to soldiers in Iraq or special prayers for soldiers fighting in the war over there, with Valentine gifts or Thanksgiving gifts or Christmas gifts. It became such a matter of routine in our Wednesday prayer services to remember soldiers all over the world that in time it became a kind of almost meaningless chant, and I've noticed that it gets skipped entirely now and then. The danger passed, and all things righted…
Kipling was better known as a poet than as a Christian, but he does make a telling point about many of us: we hold God much in the same esteem we hold the soldier. But we seem only to hold Him and the reverence He deserves when trouble is just outside the door. The rest of the time He is banished to a more or less ceremonial role in our lives. We don't love Him any less, but we don't feel the need to show him quite so much love quite so often.
Living in a military community we see the price some of our wounded soldiers who have paid for what this country believed it had to do. I'd like to urge all of us to try and see Christ the same way – the way He appeared to the apostles just after the crucifixion, with His wounds still fresh. We were bought at a price, it says in 1 Corinthians the price was blood.This country is free because of the blood of its soldiers. We are free from eternal separation from God because the blood of His Son. Neither of these conditions came about simply because somebody thought it would be nice if that's the way things were. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance." What is the price for our salvation? Acceptance of God's grace through his son Jesus Christ because “it is by grace alone you are saved through faith." (Ephesians 2:8) Eternal gratitude ought to be the result of receiving such a gift. We didn't deserve it any more than we deserve to have our young men and women sacrifice lives and limbs for us. Let us be Christian enough not to take any of this for granted let's show our gratitude with love and respect – for God and for our soldiers who have suffered and fallen.
From the Pastor's Study, Praise and Worship of Woodlake Baptist Church, May 24, 2015