At the movies

Ephesians 6:10-20

StMarksThe movie “Fury” is set in April, 1945 and portrays the Allies making their final push into the European Theatre of war through the lens of a group of six men in a Sherman army tank led by Brad Pitt who behind enemy lines are outnumbered, out gunned and with inferior tank technology to that of the opposition are thrust against overwhelming odds into battle to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

It’s one of those movies where at the conclusion you know you’ve just watched a very, very good piece of cinema while also feeling that you wished you hadn’t. At times it’s a hard film to watch as you see through the horror of war of what from each side of the conflict of what humanity can inflict on the other.

It’s a Hollywood movie and while it does portraying Hitler and his secret service the SS as the despised villains, it is also fair in its assessment of both the allied soldiers and the German soldiers with it showing both as simply being thrust into a war that neither wanted nor had a part in playing other than that of being present in such a time. Nevertheless the battles are seen through the eyes of this group of Americans united to live and die as one from within the confines of a coffin in the guise of an army tank and while the group are shown as one in the fear and hatred of that which is war, they are also shown as detached in the matter of faith and nearing the end and entering an unwinnable battle their leader resorts to a scripture passage that it would seem has enabled him to get to this point and to the point he must go as to both himself and those with him he recites from the book of Isaiah “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me” to only be followed up later when in situation of hopelessness and awaiting certain imminent death brings hope through the words of 1 John: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. …..(for)……The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Misused scripture? I guess some may so, But scripture if it was I who through whatever measure it be, be it from my own failures or those of another see me in an alike situation I would certainly not see as misplaced but understand with faith and throwing myself at the feet of Christ in mercy see not guilt and damnation but forgiveness and new life with Christ in heaven where the hurt, the shame, the pain and the fear of a life-that was has been erased like that of a white board and seen or known no longer.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. Words from 1st John that misplaced or not was those said to me on what was to become the “eve” of their suicide.

Scripture not heard from the safety of theological discussion, but scripture known from the melees of life like that of psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Words of our Lord understood at hospital bedsides and then read at funerals for those still living that they too can remain upright and fight the good fight of life through the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Words of the Lord not to mislead and scare, but His Words to guide and reassure. His Words of guidance and reassurance of what is when all seems otherwise that we not get led astray seeking truth where non is to be found, but stand firm clothed in the full armour of God that we not be moved by sleight of hand nor earthly circumstance, but stand firm in the power of Christ clothed in His garments.

The armour of God that Paul clothed himself with in times of imprisonment and persecution that he not be moved by the devil and his schemes nor in his false doctrine. But Paul in the world but not of the world who relates the two opposing sides as seen through his jailors and encourages the early Christians to not falter from what may seem but stand firm in what is known. To not see the belt of a Roman soldier designed to hold loose clothing and move quickly in battle as they do, but be clothed in God’s belt of truth that alone can counter the world’s lies. To not place a breastplate of steel to protect the chest and its vital organs in battle but rather shield ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. To not cloth ourselves with a Roman soldiers boots studded with nails to stand firm in battle, but stand firm in the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ that sees us need not dip our shield in water prior to the onslaught of flaming arrows, but be shielded by faith in the waters of baptism and see no need for adorning a bronze Helmut nor carrying a sword for close combat, but rather be filled with the Holy Spirit to know of our sure salvation in Christ.

The current Pope on the sixth of June this year, Pope Francis remarked that with the reality of so many armed conflicts affecting our world, “they are kind of Third World War being fought piecemeal” (in fragments).”

Whether that be the case in title or not, be it WW1, WW2 or WW3 all are in reality different battles and outpourings in the one War that is between good the good of God the Father and his adversary of evil.

Battles nonetheless in our fallen world both real and tangible just as they are real and spiritual. Spiritual warfare in our church’s, homes and workplaces of where one desires in Christ we see others through love and the other that we lower our eyes from the cross and bicker, argue and demand.

Battles seen through flesh and blood where we desire God be on our side, yet battles of the Spirit that we need be on his side like that of a young shepherd boy named David who understood this as he single-handedly opposed Goliath in the name of the Lord for when the Philistine Goliath said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” David responded with, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD.

David won that seemingly unwinnable battle not because of a slingshot but because he was clothed in the armour of God. God’s armour for us in our world. His armour seen in the truth of Christ righteousness that you are clothed. His armour given to you through the Holy Spirit that in faith you know His Gospel and of your most certain salvation that you have received in forgiveness through Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour.

Every day it seems our world is changing. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and countries allegiances change with the stroke of a pen. What was once a sin is now a “sin to oppose” and the right of life is becoming the right to extinguish it because of our right to live how we deem fit, and how our world will be tomorrow or the next we do not know nor can we control. Our world that is crying out for leadership yet our world that seeks it in the towers of Babylon.

Our world in such times that we are so blessed live in and see and be the people of God provided with and clothed in his invincible spiritual armour to live every aspect of our lives serving in God’s divine purpose to gather all things under the headship of Jesus Christ.

In the movie “Fury” that I mentioned earlier, the soldiers though portrayed suffering in severe trials, in their belief of being sent to free the world from Adolf Hitler would often remark “It’s the best job they have ever had.”

Today, in our world what a great time to be a Christian and serve our Savior through those he brings before us that they may be open to the Holy Spirit and see not human war and suffering but the spiritual peace and joy that is found in Jesus Christ, that as they lay to awake before the Savior, they too know for themselves that you know for yourselves. That yes, though you may walk through the darkest valley or atop highest mountain splendor, you did not fear in the valley nor gloat on the mountain, for as in both was Christ that was present and it was Christ that prevailed, so to in Christ did you travel not in the shame of sin- but in the boldness of His grace knowing that in either life or in death through this fallen yet redeemed sinner has His love been known, and His love been magnified. Amen.