We arrived home to the news of the latest installment of Muslims gone wild.
Apparently even Chattanooga, Tennessee is not immune from acts of Islamic terrorism.
When I saw the news I was immediately reminded of the way Saladin responded to the march of Richard the Lionheart’s army from Acre down the coast and then inland toward Jerusalem in the Third Crusade.
Saladin knew he could not face the superior technology and skill of the crusaders head-on—in one of their battles with Saladin, the Crusaders killed the Muslim soldiers at a rate of 10-1.
So instead, Saladin ordered his men to attack the Crusaders in small groups in short intermittent attacks along the caravan and at the rear, not with the hope of defeating the Crusaders but demoralizing them so they would quit and go back to Europe.
Richard, ever the disciplined tactician, insisted his men not charge and break the line, but remain focused on where they were going.
Terrorism derives from a similar dynamic of weakness in the face of superior force. Unable to defeat their opponent on the battlefield, Islamic terrorists attack their enemies in their office buildings and airports.
Citizens of the Kingdom of God must remain disciplined and focused on the goal, which will ultimately be achieved not by laser guided bombs but by the Sword of the Spirit.
Since returning I have also thought back on the many churches and castles we saw on this trip. Churches and castles. What better metaphor is there for the nature of man? Man is made in the image of God and therefore has an innate desire to worship Him, but Man is fallen and corrupt and must build strongholds to protect against the violence of his fellow man.
The Wife and I have had the privilege of seeing some of the most famous churches in the world: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, and Notre Dame in Paris. On this trip we saw some magnificent churches along the Seine, but it seems most of the churches we saw were examples only of medieval architecture rather than modern worship.
It is ironic then that today The Wife and I will return with anticipation to worship in our own local church. Our church is the result of a church plant in a movie theater a few years ago. We started with about thirty people but have continued to grow. We are still meeting in the movie theater but are at full capacity and getting ready to expand to multiple Sunday services. . . . in a movie theater.
The Church has never been a building, even if the building was as beautiful as Notre Dame or the Hagia Sophia or the many beautiful churches we saw along the Seine. The Church is a people who love Jesus, are believing on Him for their salvation, and have dedicated their lives to carrying out His Kingdom purposes on earth. GS