Gospel of Peace
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes...Stand firm then...with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:11, 15).
Those of us who have chosen to become disciples of Jesus sometimes act as though we’ve been instructed to strap on the ‘seat cushion’ of ease or to slip into the ‘bunny slippers’ of comfort. The truth of the matter, however, is that we are to be ‘ready to move’ in order to share the peace we have come to experience. Once we’ve joined God’s army, our goal is not just to take a self-protective stance against the enemy, but to jump literally into the fray to rescue those who don’t know about how they can experience God’s forgiveness and join the winning side. The movie, “Hacksaw Ridge” provides a wonderful and yet disturbingly realistic analogy of what our work in the spiritual realm should look like.
The movie is based on the real life events of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who joined the military as a medic in World War II. He refused to carry any weapon of any kind. This notably made him a pariah with his fellow soldiers and attempts were made to have him quit the military before his training was complete. But Doss persevered. He was sent overseas with his unit and was part of an offensive that was tasked to take and secure the infamous ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ from the Japanese, who were brutally efficient in their defense of the Maeda Escarpment.
The Japanese launched an aggressive counterattack, resulting in heavy numbers of American casualties. In the midst of the offensive, Desmond runs through the enemy lines and arrives at a place of safety, only to discover that most of his unit has not. He could have scampered down the rope ladder to safety and thanked God for preserving his life. But that is not how Desmond responded to his rescue from the enemy. Throughout the long night, Desmond is heard praying over and over again, “Just one more, Lord...help me get just one more” as he returns repeatedly back into enemy territory searching for the members of his unit in order to carry them out one by one, hoist them over the cliff and let them down into the safety of friendly arms.
Repeatedly during that long night he put himself in harm’s way, with no weapon for protection, just his repeated prayer to God, “Just one more, Lord...help me get just one more!” Desmond Doss is the only conscientious objector to ever be awarded the “Medal of Honour” and for good reason. During the course of that one night, Desmond Doss’s heroic work to save his dying unit resulted in the rescue of 75 individuals who would have otherwise perished of their wounds or at the hands of the Japanese army.
If we could see the spiritual realm as we do the physical world around us, we might be surprised and horrified to find out how closely it resembles an active battle field. We need to open our ears to the cries of the dying and our eyes to the death and decay all around us. Rather than merely thanking God for our own rescue from an enemy who was intent on our eternal death, we need to be ready to run back into enemy territory with Desmond’s prayer on our lips, “Just one more, Lord...help me get just one more!”
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!