About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Arms" is one of my favourite songs from the 1980's.
It was recorded by Dire Straits and was written by Mark Knopfler,
the lead singer/guitarist of Dire Straits.
I like everything about this song.
I like the melody. I
like the clarity and distinctiveness of the instruments being played.
I really like how Alan Clark plays his
fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed the
As the battle raged
And though they did hurt
me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
Brothers in arms.
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in
If I understand the
lyrics, the support and camaraderie that exists among brothers in arms
are vital for success on the battlefield. Only
fools make war with brothers in arms.
If this is the case with brothers in arms, it should certainly be
the case with brothers in Christ. We
too fight a battle; a battle the Apostle Paul calls "the good fight
of faith" in 1 Timothy 6:12.
As Knopfler was forming
Dire Straits in the early 1970's, I was living one of the most exciting
times in my life. The Jesus
People Movement had found its way from
As young soldiers in the
battle of faith, the support and camaraderie among us was real. At
times the battle actually got physical.
One of my brothers in Christ was punched in the face.
We had to search the street to find his glasses.
Once, while sharing Jesus in a coffee house, I flew over a table
and onto the floor after receiving a solid punch.
While rising to my feet, I ended up back on the floor because of
a kick to my head. I wasn't
so quick to my feet after that.
Back then, meeting a new
brother in Christ was a joyous event.
We extended our hands of fellowship and our arms of camaraderie
to a new found brother in Christ. So,
on one occasion I was dumbfounded. While
returning from one of my evangelical escapades I sat beside an older man
on the train. I was
overjoyed to learn that he was a Christian.
I expected the same joy to be reciprocated.
I anticipated a great conversation about the things of our Lord
while riding the rails. I
reached out and offered him a hearty handshake only to feel a loosely
gripped, wimpish, handshake in return.
His mundane, nonchalant, response took me aback.
His "what's the big deal about meeting a brother in
Christ" attitude dampened my enthusiasm.
I don't know for sure, but maybe my long hair turned him off.
I recently met a lady who
I discovered was a sister Christ. As
usual I was glad to meet a Christian I had never met before.
Once she knew I was a Christian her first response was a
question. "What church
do you go to?" Anyone
who knows me knows how much that unbiblical based question annoys me.
Is not knowing that I'm a fellow brother in Jesus something to be
joyful about? Do I need to
state my denominational and doctrinal distinctives right up front?
According to the New Testament, church is not a place or a
meeting that we go to. There's
no Biblical logic in saying we can go to church when we are the church.
You can't go to a place when you are that place.
People tell me it's just words.
I shouldn't be concerned if people don't always say the right
words. They say everyone
knows church isn't a place or a meeting.
I say that if the Bible's concept of church is burned into our
hearts and souls, we'll say the right words.
Despite the general consensus, words are important. They
really do tell us what we believe.
I guess it's just human
nature. We like to
pigeonhole people into ecclesiastical corners, which at times look more
like the corners of a boxing ring than the corners of the community of
Christ. When we squeeze each
other into unbiblical ecclesiastical corners, we destroy the support and
camaraderie that's vital on the battlefield of faith.
I understand how it
works. Back in the late 1970's and 1980's I was a part of the
Shepherding Movement. In
that movement, each one of us had a personal pastor.
We called him our shepherd. He was over us in the chain of
authority within the movement. Invariably,
when many of us would meet a new brother in the movement, we'd ask,
"who are you under?" Knowing
where your shepherd was situated in the chain of authority seemed
important. The closer he was
to the top of the chain, the more important some of us felt.
In Arms" expresses something many Christians miss.
"Through the fields of destruction, the baptisms of fire, we
witness the suffering, the battle rages higher, you did not desert me
… we are fools to make war on our brothers in arms."
As we find ourselves on the battlefield of faith we're baptized
in the fire of cultural conflict. The
support and camaraderie of being brothers in Christ is vital for our
survival. Yes, we are
brothers in Christ, but we are also brothers in arms.