Thought for the Week - Keep in Step
By this time the marching season would normally be well under way. I’m sure some of you are missing it already.
As a Chaplain at various levels within the Orange Institution I would normally attend several marches each year. I’m also, of course, a member of Bellarena Accordion Band and when I can I also like to parade with them.
There are some similarities between marching in a Band or Lodge and living the Christian life.
First of all - you must make the right start.
You start the parade when the Drum Major gives the command. The Christian life begins when you heed the command of Jesus who said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John Ch. 3, v. 3). An old Chinese proverb says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You need that first step of exercising repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Secondly - you must keep in step.
Occasionally, if a person’s concentration lapses they can get out of step, whereupon somebody else in the band usually shouts at them, “You’re out of step!”. In Galatians Ch. 6, v. 25 (NIV) the Apostle Paul says, “… let us keep in step with the Spirit.” In that particular context, keeping in step with the Spirit means putting to death or crucifying the sinful nature and also cultivating the fruit of the Spirit. Paul says “the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like”. On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit, namely - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control should be increasingly seen in us.
Thirdly - You must keep going to the end.
The parade is not over until the Drum Major says, “Band Dismiss” or “Parade, fall out.” Jesus said, “… he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew Ch. 10, v.22). This persevering grace to keep going comes not from ourselves but from the Lord. In Philippians Ch. 1, v.6 Paul says “… and He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Isaiah Ch. 40, v. 31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
Brethren, I know you’ll miss this “Marching Season”. Make sure you don’t miss the “walk of faith.”
"Chosen to be soldiers
In an alien land:
Chosen, called, and faithful,
For our Captain’s band;
In the service royal
Let us not grow cold;
Let us be right loyal,
Noble, true, and bold.
Master, Thou wilt keep us,
By Thy grace divine,
Always on the Lord’s side,
Saviour, always Thine."
By Wor. Bro. Rev. Alistair Smyth, Grand Chaplain