May 27, 2012
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:18-20
In the Civil War most regiments had a ten-man honor guard, which carried the flags of country and unit into battle.
Not surprisingly, carrying something as conspicuous as these great flags made the soldier an immediate target for the enemy. Battlefield records tell us how one carrier of the flag after another could be shot. The colors would wobble, and the next member of the guard would grab it and continue on.
It was an honor to carry those flags, if even for a very short time.
On occasion, all of the color guard would be killed or wounded, but there is no record that speaks of a charge being stopped while officers searched for volunteers. Volunteers were always at the ready because they knew it was an honor to carry the flag.
Go to the bloodied battlefield of Gettysburg and see -- placed in display cases of honor -- the colors of these regiments, ripped and torn by shot and shell, baptized by the blood of men, who had made a commitment to a cause that changed the world.
As great as the cause of freedom was, it pales in comparison to God's cause to free souls from the slavery of sin, death and Satan.
Christians should remember it is an honor to share the cross of Christ with a sinful world. Because of the Savior's innocent life, suffering, death and glorious resurrection from the dead, we have been given a message that can change the world. Now we need to remember how easily other things can get in the way of the church moving forward in the sharing of that message.
We need to remember those things, and we need to avoid them.
To carry the colors -- the cross of Christ -- is the honor the Savior has given to every generation of the church. Some decades have carried those colors well and souls have been won; others have failed and the advancement of the message has almost faltered.
Now you and I are not responsible for what has happened in the past, and we're not entirely responsible for what happens in the future, but this is our time to do what we can, where we can, in the sharing of the Redeemer's Name.
As the disciples said, "We cannot help but speak of those things which we have seen and heard and touched."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, send the Holy Spirit upon the church and upon us. Grant us the courage, the wisdom, the words, to share the story of salvation with a lost and sinful world. This I ask in the Name of the Savior who gave His life, so I might have forgiveness and life eternal. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries