Dunkirk and Following Jesus

Dunkirk and Following Jesus We went to see the movie Dunkirk this afternoon. The movie is really intense. The warnings say PG-13 due to "peril". Peril was a good word. I like true stories and I like war movies. They usually inspire me to want to be better than I am. I romanticize the idea of being able in the fight to push through and sacrifice for my fellow soldiers in the cause. The truth is, though, I also know myself and know I am prone to fear and being paralyzed by it. This movie, and the true stories behind it, made me think over and over about the truth of what it looks like to follow Jesus.

I wont ruin the movie, but let me say the situation was dire. Men were dying, worse, they were in peril constantly. They only had a few options of hope, and those were slim. What I loved about the movie was the messages it sent, the stories it told. Stories of selfless heroics in the face of certain death; stories of self-sacrifice for a greater cause, living, and in some cases, dying, to further a brother. Comradery on a wide scale. It felt like what it feels like to follow Jesus sometimes.

Folks, this thing Christ has called us to is real. There is often real pain and suffering to be had. So many in the professing church have made it their life's work to avoid the suffering of ministry, to avoid the dirty and messy work of following Jesus, of loving people, even our enemies. We find ourselves running away from the fight instead of headlong into it. What impressed me in the movie was the reason those who rushed into harms way. They were not amped up to win the battle. That, I'm afraid, was lost for the day. They risked all because their countrymen were hurting and needed help.

Our world is fraught with broken people just like us that are hurting and need help. Will you run home to safety or risk it all to help them, to bring them home? One of the most touching moments in the movie (I'll spare details to those who haven't seen it) was the moment when the 400,000 men trapped on the beach were encouraged by the presence of so small a token of help and salvation. It wasn't enough, it couldn't stem the tide, but it encouraged the hearts of those in the direst of straits.

This is how we felt in Nicaragua when we visited. We couldn't change much, we couldn't even help very long, but the look in the eyes of the native pastors and believers when we showed up ... when the American Christians cared enough to fly all the way over there and encourage them by our presence ... that, friends, was worth millions.

Being a true Jesus follower will require us at times to take stock on what we value, on how much we love people. Do we love them enough to charge into battle, to knowingly sacrifice our reputations, our money, our homes, our families, or our lives? The world is trapped by the enemy, backed up to an unforgiving sea of hopelessness. Jesus is their hope ... and we are bringing Him to them on little lifeboats and rafts. It seems an insurmountable task, but forge ahead, we must. When they see us crest the horizon during their dark nights of the soul, they will be encouraged if nothing else. We may not make it out, but we know we will have been faithful. It's not about us, you know. It's about Jesus and He has given us orders.

When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made!  All the world wondered. Honor the charge they made, Honor the Light Brigade,  Noble six hundred.

Charge of the Light Brigade - Tennyson