Originally scheduled for October 18
It must be admitted that “Sarge” did not start his Army career too
well. He was a ghetto loser from Detroit, a high school dropout
hooked on drugs and eventually busted for it. The judge offered him
a choice: three years in prison or six years in the Army. He decided
the Army sounded much better.
The first few years in the Army didn’t seem to be too much better
than his life in Detroit. He had a few minor run-ins with the Army’s
judicial system, mostly over his attitude about drugs. His mind was
on parties, drugs and beer. But on his second tour in Vietnam,
things changed. His best friend was killed in combat; he lost
several other buddies there too. He started think about life and
decided he wanted to change his direction.
He went into the captain’s office, unbidden, saluted and asked the
captain what he had to do to get promoted. The answer, it seemed,
was in the chart posted on the wall. It showed the requirements for
promotion in each rank. The captain was pleased to point out the
details. After this little talk, Sarge saluted, thanked the captain,
then turned his life around.
The United States Army is not particularly noted as a forgiving
institution. But I would have you note why this process worked the
way it did:
The Army did not care where Sarge had been — as long as he was
headed in the right direction.
The process was posted on the wall. It was not a secret held by some
inner circle, but something that everyone could read. In short, it
was public knowledge.
Why did they do it this way? There was a war on.
Communion reminds us of this attitude.
Christ want you to repent. He didn’t ask you to atone for your own
sins; He took care of that. Where you have been doesn’t matter very
much compared to where you are going.
The process is not secret. Indeed the church is told to go and
preach the gospel to all peoples so that no one will lack this
knowledge — and the blessings it brings. Anyone who wants to come to
Christ should get plenty of help from the church.
Why did Jesus do it this way? There is a war on, the war between
good and evil. By the way, you are already in that war.
Therefore, as you partake this morning, remember the price of
salvation: the Cross. Examine yourself and see if there is some need
for repentance. Then partake in a worthy manner. Finally, follow
through: make your promise of repentance here and now and deliver on
it during the week.