Thursday, February 26, 2015

Onward Christian Soldiers

Yes, I know this is crazy, but I found myself thinking and singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" this morning.

Do I think we should sing it today?

No, I don't.

But I sang it as a child and young adult.
Sang it with gusto and joy.

Never once imaging it to be anything more than a metaphor.

And as a metaphor, well, I guess we'd do well with other images.
But I checked out the lyrics this morning.

I must say, there's wisdom here.

In truth:
Life isn't easy, and we need organization.
We need cohesion and purpose.

In truth:
Powers rise and powers fall.
Christian powers and hateful powers.
Whatever they may be.

Only one remains constant:
The cross of Jesus Christ.
A reminder of true power.

And the nature of God: to give.
Never take.
To die, if needed.

For higher purposes.
Other than survival.

With the constant refrain:
Come join with us.
There's a world to be won.
Not by sword and spear.

Or bombs and guns.
But a world to be won.
Creation to be honored.
Justice to be served.

Against such things, terrible forces aligned.
Terrible forces - they hate the cross.
Even as they claim it for their own.

Terrible forces - they hate the Christ.
Even as they praise him for light and love.

Onward ... no retreat in this matter.
No hiding.
No excuses.
No other way.

Without the cross, the endeavor goes crazy.
Without the Christ, the purpose grows mean.

But women and men of good heart.
Can see ... the cross on high.
The way of peace.
And goodness.

Marching with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Across the fateful Bridge.

Refusing to go to the back of the bus.
With brave Rosa Parks.

In the face of much evil.
Registering voters.
Saying no to fracking.
And oil madness.

Saying no to Wall Street.
And its ceaseless cruelties.

Working ... struggling ...
May I say, fighting?
Without the usual tools.

But only the weapons of faith, hope and love.
Grace, mercy and peace.

In the name of the Father,
And the Son,
And the Holy Spirit.

In the name of the Mother,
In the name of the Daughter.
In the name of their love for one another.

In the name of all that's holy and good.
In the name of every kindness ever done.
In the name of every prophet.

Who made straight the way of the LORD.
Who spoke truth to power.
Who pointed the way to a better world.

Onward Soldiers.
Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Jew.
Onward, women and men of peace.
Onward, to the better day.

With banners of light and love.
Held high.
Shining bright and fair.

So the world may know.
The liberating truth.
Truth given in every faith.
In every time and place.

Not by sword, but with the Spirit.
Not with violence, but of grace.
Not with malice, but always mercy.

Onward ...
Oh, soldiers of light and love.
Onward to the better day.

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