By David Ramos
“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” II Corinthians 10:3—5 Amplified Bible
In the movie Jarhead, there is a scene where in the midst of a mortar attack, the protagonist apparently seems disembodied from the event—it is his first encounter of actual warfare. There is a nearby explosion, he is abnormally calm as sand pelts his face and he almost seems to savor his baptism into the theater of war. This morning I seemed to have a similar experience. During the worship service a few benches behind me a brother begins to scream, “I LOVE YOU JESUUUUUUUUUUUUUS!!! I LOVE YOU JESUUUUUUUUUUS!!! I LOVE YOU JESUUUUUUUUUS!!!
Normally I would consider such outbursts undisciplined, or (how proud) I would regulate such behavior to new Christians—but not this time. There, in the midst of a wonderful worship service, is this shriek of pure, unadulterated, unselfconscious cry for God. No one seems fazed as they continue to praise God. I am at once transfixed and transported by this moment—I am both participant and observer, time seems to go in slow motion as I take in all that is going on around me. I feel that I am in the midst of a battle cry. This shriek, of a son to his God, cuts through all the neat theology we learned in seminary, cuts through the carefully constructed modalities of church culture, cuts through the manicured etiquette of decorum, but it is there where it is most powerful! In this cry I heard the cry of Bartimaeus who when rebuked about his shouting, shouted all the more! (Mark 10:46—52). In this cry I heard the bitter tears of Hezekiah crying out to his God for mercy! (II Kings 20:1—7). In this cry I heard the voice of a criminal hanging on the cross saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42).
In the midst of our postmodern turn we need to be careful of what we let in, what we deem as “old school,” “passé,” and irrelevant. With my life often undergoing “spin cycle” I find it helpful to have a healthy suspicion of my own theology, philosophy, ideologies, political persuasions, and cultural preferences, to be careful of the “new and improved” the “We’re in the know, everyone else is outside,” the latest “shake and bake” church planting methods. Ever so often it’s great to have your world shook up by the mortar blast of a nearby shriek. Thank God for people who still believe that God answers prayer! Thank God for those who still believe in miracles! Thank God for those who still cry out to their God! My prayer is that once the bullets start flying, I will be a courageous and effective soldier for God; keep me in your prayers.