THE UNRETURNING SOLDIER
"Weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more; nor see his native land" (Jer. 22:10)
Shallum, son of Josiah, king of Judah, had gone away in battle for his country. Was taken captive and subsequently died in captivity. It was of him that the prophet Jeremiah utters this gloomy prophecy in our text. Shallum, who went away never to return is the type in this one respect, of the brave soldier boy, whose going away has no return. His life was the toil of war. Widowed love and orphaned dependency wept in vain for the unreturning son, husband, and father. Shallum's eyes never again saw the land which his patriotism rescued and enriched. This was the price he paid for his country and this is the price that all too many of our sons have had to pay in distant lands to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy and, too often, hold so lightly. What a privilege they bought for us that we can see and enjoy our beloved country with all of its privileges and opportunities for the fulfillment of our highest aspirations. God grant that our fallen war-dead will be remembered in sorrow and in love and appreciation to them for the ultimate sacrifice they made for us. On this Memorial day, let us feel free to abhor the horrors of war and to question the wisdom or rightness of war; but, let us loathe even the thought of criticizing or condemning those who bore arms in our behalf. To these we owe a debt that we cannot repay. However, let us do our utmost to preserve those liberties and the country, for which they sacrificed so much.
May 19, 1977
As I prepare this Newsletters, Mt. St. Helen's volcanic ash has covered a large portion of the United. States. Much destruction of property and life has taken place as a result of the eruption of this sleeping volcano. It is generally agreed that the cloud of volcanic ash will lower the temperature in our nation for a least a part of the growing season and we are left to wonder what the effect of this falling ash will have on our crops and our health. We are concerned (and rightly so) over this volcanic eruption and the present and potential future damage that will or has occurred. For nearly six thousand years, a cloud of sin and corruption has been spewed out from the lives of mankind. In these latter years it appears that this cloud of sin has increased to the point that man is about to destroy himself by the poisonous effects of his sin. For multitudes, this cloud of, sin has obscured the face of God and in the darkness of their soul, they have wandered far from God. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews speaks of another cloud of witnesses to a better life in Christ. These men and women of God preserved the faith in their day. On Memorial Day we will remember the sacrifices that they made and, a homage to them. But, is this enough? Please note that in the passage of scripture that we have used as a text, Paul urges his contemporaries "lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." By adding the witness of faithful lives and service to the witness of the past, the Church of today will keep alive the Christian faith and hope that is ours thru Christ. In our illustration; we have spoken of two types of clouds-one of evil and one of good. Your life is a part of one of these. To which one are you contributing?
May 21, 1980
There are songs which can only be learned in the valley. No art can teach them, no rules of voice can make them perfectly sung. Their music is in the heart. They are songs of memory, of personal experience. They bring out their burden from the shadow of the past; they mount on the wings of yesterday. St. John says that even in Heaven there will be a song that can only be sung by the sons of earth that have passed thru great tribulation - the strain of redemption. No angel, no archangel can sing it as sweetly as the soul that has walked with Christ thru the shadow of deep sorrow and suffering. None can learn it but the children of the cross. There are chords too minor for the angels. There may be heights in the symphony which are beyond the scale - heights which angels alone can reach; but there are depths which belong only to the children of faith that have known sorrow and tribulation. So, if deep sorrow has touched your life, or sickness touched your body, or persecution by your fellow-man has blighted your days and nights; remember your Heavenly Father may be training you for the part the angels cannot sing in the Heavenly Symphony. But, it is not in heaven alone that your ministry will be felt. History bears witness to the great contribution the children of faith have made to this world after sorrow and suffering has mellowed their life and torn their affections and hopes from a perishing world and fastened them upon the eternal. So remember, in the night God is preparing thy song. In the valley He is tuning thy voice. In the cloud He is deepening thy chords. In the rain He is sweetening thy melody. In the cold He is molding thy expression. Hence, do not despise the school of sorrow, it will give you a unique part in the universal song of Heaven and sweeten your ministry to earth.
May 28, 1975
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