No matter what you might say otherwise, this obligatory shot must impress us. Otherwise it would not be “obligatory.” Why does it succeed? Because it projects a team filled with confidence, strength, and solidarity.
I seldom watch the Power Point on Sunday mornings now because I cannot read most of the passages and the announcements. But I glanced up once a week or so ago, and the shot of our three elders flashed up. We do that so any visitors from the community can recognize them easily. I suddenly remembered all those slo-mo swaggers and wondered what the effect might be if we did one of those. Knowing my humble shepherds as well as I do, I know they would be embarrassed, but I could not help but smile and think, “Our guys could pull it off.”
Then I thought to myself, you know what? It might not be such a wild thought. Shouldn’t we as Christians have that swagger too? Not because we are so good, but because of who would be standing in the middle of our line, perhaps a step or two ahead of the rest of us walking thousands abreast through the world. How could it not have an effect?
There was a time when that Leader did walk the roads with his twelve special followers beside and behind him. But they did not have the swagger necessary for the full effect. They were not as confident as they should have been. Didn’t they all fear as the storm raged around their boat, even though they had their Lord with them, who lay calm enough to sleep despite the tossing waves?
They were not as strong as they should have been. Didn’t they sleep while he suffered in the garden, and then scatter when he was arrested?
They were certainly not as unified as they should have been. More than once he caught them arguing about who was the greatest.
We are not any better sometimes. At least by the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after they fled in terror from the Roman soldiers, those men finally shaped up. They went on to perform miracles, preach astounding sermons, and face persecution, even to the death.
What about us? When will we mature enough to understand that with the Leader we have, we can turn the world upside down? But only if we walk the walk.
Confidence: I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Phil 4:13.
Strength: So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what shall man do to me? Heb 13:6.
Solidarity: That they may all be one, even as you Father are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me, John 17:21.
If the world is not impressed with us, it is not because of our leader or his message. It is because we have failed him. Any confidence, strength, and solidarity we may have come only from our faith in him. When we are lingering behind, cringing at what lies ahead, or tugging and fussing with one another instead of firmly, confidently striding out to the fight, all the Enemy will do is laugh.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world—and this is the victory that has overcome the world—faith, 1 John 5:4.