Summary: A salute to Veterans. The kind of loyalty and unity and love and oneness that is hard to find. The meaning of Church membership.
“Something In Between”
“And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ who fills everything everywhere with his presence.” Ephesians 1:22-23 NLT
Intro: The Battle of Okinawa was the last and biggest of the Pacific island battles of World War II. It involved the U.S. Army against the Japanese Army. At stake were air bases in between the Allied forces and the projected final invasion of Japan to bring an end to the war. Between April 1 and June 22, 1945 Eric Grant tells his story. In the early-morning hours Eric Grant strapped thirty pounds of ammunition and explosives to his already overloaded back hopped on resupply truck and headed toward a rendezvous point. There were twelve soldiers in each truck in a convoy of six vehicles. The front end of the truck was packed with hospital beds. At the time, they were empty. Within hours, they would be full. The first several miles were pretty smooth. Eric could close his eyes and almost see the front porch swing at his home. Then suddenly he was jolted back to Okinawa by the sound of an explosion and gun fire. The front of the truck started smoldering and filling with smoke. Eric picked up his rifle and jumped over the tailgate, off the truck and landed on his feet. He could hear bullets whizzing by his head. They kind of sounded like the buzz of bumble bees. Standing there he remembered that he had thirty pounds of ammunition and explosives strapped to his back. He fell to the ground and began to crawl toward safety and the tree line at the edge of the road. About half way to cover he looked back and could see the truck was now on fire. He knew that besides the hospital beds there were also two cases of grenades. And still eleven other men.
He was faced with a choice. Keep crawling and save himself. Or go back and risk death. It only took him a second to drop the backpack of ammunition and start crawling back toward the truck. The rest of the story is kind of a blur. He just remembers grabbing limp bodies and the two cases of grenades (which if they had exploded would have killed them all) and throwing them over the side of the truck. Later Eric received recognition from the Army for his bravery that day. He was able to save three of the eleven men from the burning truck. Eric Grant was the only thing that stood between those three men and certain death.
That kind of loyalty is hard to find.
Yet it is the story of the early disciples at the beginning of Christian faith. Some would have us believe that everything that has ever been written and everything that we have ever been told about Jesus’ life, death on the cross and resurrection is a lie. They would have us believe that we are crazy and ludicrous. They would have us believe that it is ridiculous to trust in a supernatural Jesus. They would have us believe that it is idiotic to think that God would love the world enough to give his Son so that people like you and me would not perish but have eternal life. Yet this Jesus stands between us and what waits for us after death.