Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

My wife rented a movie for this evening, “The Wind that Shakes the Barley.”

As the movie draws to a close, Damien faces execution and writes his final words to his beloved S:nead. He writes:

Dan once told me something I’ve struggled with all this time. He said, “It’s easy to know what you are against, quite another to know what you are for.”

While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, it is worthy of pondering. I’m not certain that it is easy to know what one is against. I expect that it is easy to think that one know’s what one is against. But it certainly is true that it generally is less easy to be sure of what one is for.

How often this is true even in the Church. How quickly people pick sides and begin to fight against one another, and usually not so much based upon what they are for, but based on what they oppose. How many people ever do really figure out what exactly they are for?

St. Peter faced this in the garden when he drew his sword against those who came to take his Lord. But Peter knew neither what he really was against nor for. His Lord, on the other hand, knew exactly both what He was against and what He was for. Thus He healed the ear that Peter had cut off and went willingly with His captors, even praying for those who persecuted Him and crucified Him. He willingly laid down His life for His friends, and conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil so that freedom would win the day, not only for those who knew themselves as His friends, but also for those who had no clue that Jesus counted them as friends for whom He was willing to die.

Truly this gives cause for pause before picking up the sword against others. This is true of the physical sword as well as the sword of the Spirit. For even in preaching the Law, the purpose is the restoration of the lives of those who will heed the call to repent and believe the Gospel. The Law is preached to strike down sinners so that the Gospel may raise up newly born saints. When the first is preached without a view toward the second, then the preaching is not of God but of the devil. This thought certainly calls my heart to repent.

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