Here’s the text (slightly altered) from the message delivered last Sunday. Last Sunday was our annual D-Day remembrance, and members of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch No. 56) were in attendance. The readings were RCL Proper 10:
It has sometimes been pointed out that all it takes for evil to succeed in the world is for good people to do nothing. This is the world’s formulation, in faith-neutral and secularly approved language. The Church’s testimony is slightly different: people are not able to overcome evil, or prevent its success, in the world – except by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, who has already defeated it. On our own, we fight power with more power; we fight hatred with deeper hatred; we fight terrorism by terrorizing. It is Jesus who overcomes power with weakness, hatred with love, fear and war with peace.
This is not to say that there’s nothing left for His followers to do. God’s people are not to sit with folded hands waiting to be transferred to heaven. So long as they remain on earth there is work to do, there are battles to fight, and there are sufferings to endure. Believers are not pictured, in the New Testament, as flowers that just wait to be plucked and carried into heaven. They are the servants – the slaves! – of Christ who must be busy at His work. They are the soldiers of Christ’s army, who stand in the fray as He battles against the forces of evil. They are His brothers and sisters and mother – for they do the will of God the Father. And so we can join Jesus in His work, we’re invited to do so.
Consider that during the second world war the Allied Forces were composed of the armies of many nations. None of those armies renounced its own identity, but together they defeated Hitler and his allies. How? They had a shared loyalty and goal that were greater than their individual ones. This is what the army of the redeemed is like. We must follow our commander, Jesus, with full assurance of victory over the evil one. There are times I’ve heard people boast of their country’s army advancing further, or facing more resistance, on D-Day – but the Gospel of Jesus calls us to recognize that it is only by efforts made in concert with our fellows and with Jesus Himself that evil is overcome.
We are called to follow Jesus; we are called to make a concerted effort, week-by-week, to advance His reign on this earth. We don’t need a King Saul to lead us, for God is our King. We are challenged, instead, to go where He leads and to work alongside one another – let not the house of Christ be divided against itself. Amen.