I had some family in town yesterday. More specifically: my Dad, my Mom, her sister (Auntie K), and her sister’s husband (Uncle Ed)…(his real name is Earl, but we call him Ed. Long story. But so funny. Another time perhaps.)
I went with my dad and uncle to The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA. I’d never been there on purpose, but my dad paid for my ticket, so I was game. While meandering through the displays of swords, pistols, knee boots and canteens, I couldn’t help but hear a rather loud-talking gentleman several feet behind us. He was there with another fella to whom he was talking rather loudly. Did I mention his booming voice? Now, there’s no stated rule on a metal plaque on the wall, but I think we can all agree that museums are meant to have more of a library-type atmosphere than a monter-truck-rally-type atmosphere. But alas, somebody forgot to tell Screamy McWaytooloud over there.
But I’m glad he was so loud because he unwittingly created this blog post in my brain. As he went from glass case to glass case, I heard him sharing his theory with his friend as to why all these confederate soldiers signed up to fight. Essentially, “it was so bad living back then, they just didn’t have anything else to live for.” I silently disagreed with him as I continued to peruse blood-stained hankies.
What kind of reason for fighting and dying for something is having nothing better to live for? If you’ll forgive that last question’s structure, I’d like to actually pull a point from this blog post. Or die trying.
I can’t imagine a Southerner sipping his mint julip on the back porch when he finally decides he’s so bored of life on the homestead that being run through with a yankee’s bayonette sounded preferable. I can’t imagine a line of young men enlisting for the Confederate army, discussing how there was “nothing better to do today”, so they decided to give their lives for some vague or flimsy cause. I can’t imagine that.
No, it was–it HAD to be–something more than that. It had to be a proud defense. It had to be a deep sense of honor. It had to be a steel-spine resolve to stand and fight for what they knew as the blessed life they lived. It had to be.
Did you know that Jesus’ disciples locked themselves in a room right after his crucifixion? They were fearful that they were next on the list, and that sooner than later THEY’D be the one’ s hanging on a cross. After all, their rabbi had gotten it so they’d be next, right? In short, they didn’t want to die. A group of men who formerly followed Jesus were now fearing for their lives, undoubtedly asking “I’m gonna die for THIS?!?”
But take a look at what happened to each of these men. All but one of them carried on in carrying out the Gospel message and over time, one by one were martyred for their unshaking faith in the power of Christ to save. Not because they didn’t have anything better to do, but because there isn’t anything better to do. And the last one of them earned himself a nice island exile getaway where he was led by God to write what we know as the simple, cute little book of Revelation.
What can you learn from all this? What possibly can come from a brief stroll through The Museum of the Confederacy? Nothing, really. Nothing but a reminder that I’m not living this life for Christ because I haven’t found anything better to do. I’m living this life for Christ because based on His love for me, there’s simply no other response that makes any sense.