... and most assuredly they are yours!
This week I have had the privilege and joy of being in the company of a number of young people in a different setting to my usual weekly round. They've been tested and challenged to achieve and to test themselves in adverse conditions and tough places - and they have done so in a most admirable fashion.
What has been perhaps most interesting for me is that the setting for this has been 'Green' (by which I mean 'Army') and the parallels between this and 'church' are most obvious and informing. The Bible speaks in many places about being a soldier and the demands that soldiers have placed upon them. We often speak of discipline in church and how we need to look to the chain of command, regulations, decrees and the like, but in this world such things are mandatory and not a matter of preference. After all, consider church discipline - this only works if the person being disciplined accepts it! Imagine a prisoner in the dock standing up and saying, 'I don't want to recognise your authority or right to judge me and am not subject to your rule of law!' and then leaving!
Here, where I am at the moment, the young men and women have chosen to be part of this family - just as we perhaps have chosen to be part of God's family: The Church.
Here they, belonging to a smaller and more intimate family group - the Regiment, work together for a common goal; each member playing their part and ensuring that the people around them are safe and supported (and knowing that the same is true for them). Commitment is not a word but an action made real by their presence next to you (whether it is in a ditch or chilling in the mess).
Here, when the going is tough, people dig deep and are sure of encouragement (most of the time), support and a camaraderie that Church can often only look at with envy.
Like a mighty army, moves the Church of God - brothers are we sleeping where the Saints once trod?
The motto, 'Those who would have peace must first prepare for war' is one that many would like to ignore, but it is a sad truth; a truth that many Christians would do well to embrace, for unless we are prepared to train ourselves for battle against the excesses, the selfish nature and the propensity we have to ignore the needs and suffering of others then not only is the daily battle lost - but the war with it!
Today, when you see a wrong - will you address it or merely pass meekly by?
Today, when you have the opportunity to commit a wrong - what will you do?
Where is your moral compass - who and what forms your chain of command?