Summary: What the best dressed Christian soldier is wearing.
The Armor of God
For a hippie to show up at boot camp is a rather traumatic experience. I was a peace and love kind of a guy suddenly thrust into a violent and loud place designed to prepare me for a loud and violent war. Had I had any clue what those weeks would have been like and the opportunity for death it offered me, I might have ran off to Canada.
I had been a WWII buff in my pre-teen years and watched every war movie I could. "Combat" and "Twelve O’clock High" were favorite TV shows. My favorite comic books were "Sgt. Rock and Easy Co.", "Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos", and "The Haunted Tank" (haunted by the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart and flying a rebel flag). I still have many of those comic books.
Hollywood and comic books made war more of a fairy tale. The blood and guts didn’t really sink in. I could not have imagined real war. My father-in-law and one of my maternal uncles were real war heroes and they spoke little of what they saw. I can still remember my uncle sitting there in a sweat while I watched "Combat" on his TV. I believe both my uncle and father-in-law suffered from shell shock/PTSD. Incredibly, they both worked hard and provided for their families. Maybe we should rethink our current treatments for those conditions, which seem to leave the men and women helpless and dependent on groups and therapists.
I was very fortunate. I did not make it to SEA (Southeast Asia) until six months after the Viet Nam war was declared over albeit they were still shooting at our troops leaving Nam a year after I left SEA.
I spent most of my active duty stateside. My only contact with the carnage was via my Honor Guard duty that allowed me to participate in the funerals of my fallen comrades in arms. After awhile, I could no longer take the grief I saw at the gravesite and asked to me moved from the color guard to the firing party that stood away from the family. Also, Dover was one of the processing points for bodies returning from Nam and I routinely made deliveries to the morgue and occasionally saw the bodies. That was ghastly enough and I cannot imagine the horrors of those on the battlefield watching their friends fall and wondering when it would be their turn.
War is indeed Hell and no one wants to think about it or be involved in it. However, Brothers and Sisters, we are in a war. We are not at peace. Sadly, many have fallen wounded and remain on the sidelines because their fellow soldiers are AWOL or on perpetual R&R and will not or cannot help.
Many will fall and condemn their Commander-In-Chief because they do not believe they are in a war. They think it is over and they should be running through flowered fields dancing with butterflies. They do not understand the cries of the wounded Christians and the dying lost. Yea, often they do not hear them at all. They are like mad men walking in the midst of the battle singing and gathering up shrapnel thinking they are gathering flowers for their dinner table.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)
How appropriate that Paul would write these words before he speaks of putting on the whole armor of God. Those who are "sleeping the sleep of the dead" will not hear nor understand the need for the armor. They are in the dark and they need the light of Christ to show them the truth and lead them from their fairy tale world into reality. Fools wandering around in a daze will only hurt themselves for they will treat the weapons of war as toys and will fall as though they were unarmed. The time for the partying of victory is after the war is over not while the days are yet evil!
I do not know that it is still there, but at one time the Queen Elizabeth was berthed in a California harbor. The ship not only served as a luxury liner, but as a troop transport in WWII. They had divided the ship in half. One side was decorated as it looked in peace and the other as it looked in war.
The peace side showed extreme luxury. Crystal chandeliers, fine china, gaudy table cloths, thick rugs, etc. The war side was stark and barren. Lights were functional, not pretty, the floors and tables bare and the utensils tin. What contrast! Brethren we are called to war!