Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Tuesday after Pentecost 15
September 27, 2011

On the surface, the poem The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson is about an ill-fated military engagement during the Crimean War. The men of the Light Brigade rode into battle even though they knew the mission was a mistake. They were trying to recapture some cannons the Russians had captured earlier and were taking away from the battle field to put on display back home. In other words, the ride was for symbolic reasons. They rode forth and the Russian cannons opened fire. The cannons were not just in front of them but also on both sides. They fought with all their hearts, and actually broke through the line of cannon in front of them; however they were unable to capture a single cannon and were driven back. They rode back, cannon again firing on them. Most died. They fought with such courage that both sides spoke with great admiration concerning the men of the Light Brigade, even though they died in a foolish effort. They questioned not their orders. They had given themselves completely to their cause, to their leaders. Death was always a possibility, and they were willing to give their lives for the honor of the Light Brigade. In the end, most did die. After the battle, of course, the politicians and military leadership were mainly concerned about pointing the finger of blame for the charge at anyone except themselves. Who had blundered? Certainly not me! But none of that finger pointing could detract from the courage of the men who fought and died that day.

This poem came up in a conversation Kitty and I had and it has since been on my mind. I wonder, do we have the same loyalty to our Lord Jesus? If standing up for Jesus is going to cost us, do we question our orders? It doesn’t have to be something big. Are the movies and shows in the theaters or on television something Christ would have us avoid? Do we just complain about the slide in moral values but in the end support it with our pocketbooks or actions? Would Jesus have us pick a place of worship based on its facility? These are small things. What would the case be if our lives were on the line? Would we think that Someone had blundered when they said we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind? Would we relegate such total commitment to a relic of the past? Or would heaven and hell watch in wonder and awe at our honor, our courage, as we march into the valley of death? And, while I’m asking questions, do all our decisions we make when facing small choices condition us for the time we have to make a big choice?

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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