Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
A famous hymn bids us, “Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there” (CW 474:3).
Most Americans understand the idea of danger. Sadly, it comes in too many forms and is far too common.
Duty is a different matter. To many, that is a hazy concept. Rights, wants, and demands are discussed regularly. Duty? Not so much.
Scripture, however, speaks plainly about duty. Duty is something that is expected to be carried out no matter how difficult, no matter the cost, no matter the location.
Location can be a major factor. Often, it is the location that brings the danger.
Those who wear, or have worn, the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces, have the meaning of the word “duty” ingrained in them. The oath taken by our Army officers declares: “I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
The lowered flags on a Memorial Day remind us that there have been Americans who have lost their lives while doing their duty.
The soil in faraway places like Tarawa, Flanders, the Chosen Reservoir, and the Michelin rubber plantations of Vietnam have soaked up the blood of Americans who carried out their duty to our nation.
They had sworn to do their duty to defend our nation “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Many of them had taken another oath that they were fulfilling at the same time. On a special Sunday, they had knelt before an altar and promised to be faithful to the Lord, their Savior God, and would be willing to lose everything, including their earthly life, rather than desert him.
Their induction or commissioning into the service of their nation ended with the words, “So help me God.”
Their confirmation vows ended much the same way.
For the Christian, the enemies domestic or foreign included forces of darkness with supernatural powers. These demonic powers are quick to attack any sign of faithfulness to the Lord of glory or hope of rescue by him.
The prize of battle is not some piece of land for a little while. This fight is over immortal souls for time and eternity.
The enemy is evil. The danger is deadly—and constant.
The command is: “Stand your ground!”
The weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Those who lose their earthly lives fighting this battle with this weapon need to be remembered by no lowered flag.
Mark their grave with the flag of victory. They wear the crown of life.
Lord of glory, we remember that a price has been paid for the freedoms we enjoy. That memory brings sadness. We look to you for comfort and assurance. We thank you for freeing us from the tyranny of evil men and fallen angels. Give us the courage to take a stand against evil. Bestow upon us the honor of standing up for Jesus. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.