In S.C. Gwynne’s book Rebel Yell, a biography of Stonewall Jackson, he rehearses one of the infamous challenges of premodern warfare: communication on a field of battle. With tens or hundreds of thousands of men, particularly before radio communication was possible, many battles were fought with very little or no communication between Generals and field officers. Messages might be run by couriers, but couriers may be shot or intercepted. Plus, there was always changing facts on the ground. What may have seemed like a good strategy the day before may not work in the smoke and heat of battle. It was often when good men did not know what to do, that they were most courageous and effective by simply doing their duty. They simply followed orders as best as they could.
We are various units and part of one battalion that has been assigned to occupy this city. There are other battalions in this city with the same assignment, and many thousands more around the world with similar orders for their communities. We are all on various front lines of the one great battle. And the lines are constantly changing in various respects. Life and death, marriage and parenting, worship and evangelism, missions and business ventures, hospitality and politics are all various ways we are engaged with the enemy. But you might occasionally be tempted to look up and wonder what dirty dishes and diapers have to do with the Kingdom of God. How do spread sheets or computer programing or this building project or sales pitch fit with the battle plan? You might look across the field and wonder whether you should be over there instead, or you might be worried that we’re about to be overrun and captured.
So remember two things: First, our General is not at all limited by our limitations of knowledge and communication. Jesus is the Great General carrying out this war. He sits in heaven, and He has perfect reconnaissance of every enemy movement. He knows where they are and what they are planning, and most importantly, He knows that their defeat is certain. And He has put you exactly where He wants you today. He may have different orders for you down the road. But today your orders are to be courageous and do your duty. What are your orders? To gather here week after week and worship the King. Confess your sins and forgive one another quickly and gladly. Go to your work with joy, for your King, for your families, for the Kingdom. This bread and wine is our flag. We rally here, and proclaim our King until He comes.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.