Saturday, July 5, 2008

What's it all about, Alfie?

The song goes on to say, "Is it just for the moment we live? What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?"

Fort Leonard Wood, Mo is affectionately called "Little Korea" by those who have spent time there based upon a comparison of climates. It is a place where soldiers train in sweltering humid heat in the summer and endure freezing meat-locker temperatures in the winter. My experience was during the "meat-locker" season. Our Company was trucked out to the "obstacle course" for infiltration and attack training while under fire through various obstacles and always under, around and through carefully laid barbed wire. Just after sunset the icing had begun in the low spots from a recent typical Missouri rain, sleet, snow, hail storm. The temperature was hovering just below freezing. Machine gun fire was constant as we crawled through the icy water always aware of the live tracer fire just above our heads. Emerging from the end of the course we were drenched from head to foot from slithering through low spots that had collected all the frosty, ice-laden waters.

Stand at ease, in formation, were our instructions, as the rest of the company finished the course. Temperatures were now beginning to drop and the water-drenched clothing began to freeze in place as it draped each part of our body. It is not for naught that the US Army is known for their "hurry up and wait" policies. It seemed an eternity before the rest of the Company finished the course, and then to put more icing on a frost-laden cake the trucks that were ordered by staff to return us to the warmth of our barracks were nowhere in site. "Stand fast", were the orders of the moment. When the canvass covered deuce and a half troop carrying trucks finally arrived and we were permitted to move toward boarding, ice particles literally broke free from our clothing and the sound was of a bucket of ice being thrown onto an asphalt parking lot.

It was times like these that caused the reflection, "What’s it all about, Alfie?" We were not given the the tools nor the equipment to endure for long the conditions described above and many were wondering whether or not to continue on. Some didn’t! As I was reflecting upon the events of the past two weeks and especially our Church’s historic departure from orthodoxy during their 218th General Assembly, once again the words of the song came back to me, "What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it out?" As Christians we have the armour, the tools, the equipment and we are simply told to take it, use it! "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Eph 6:13 In reflection, I think of all those faithful Christians who, like good soldiers, have gone on before, who have withstood any and all obstacles that were put before them, who have fought the good fight of faith and like Paul, finished the course. Now, I’m not sure what the future holds, but this one thing I do know, our orders are clear; "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." 2Th 2:15 God help us to "stand fast, and hold the traditions which we have been taught".

Barbara C. Ryberg says it well in this poem:

He does not lead me year by year
Nor even day by day,
But step-by-step my path unfolds;
My Lord directs the way.
Tomorrow's plans I do not know,
I only know this minute;
But He will say, "This is the way,
By faith now walk in it."
And I am glad that this is so,
Today's enough to bear;
And when tomorrow comes,
His grace Shall far exceed its care.
What need to worry then, or fret?
The God who gave His Son
Holds all my moments in His hand
And gives them, one by one.

1 comment:

Terry Hamblin said...

I came across your blog while researching the Frederick Lehman hymn, but here in England we are facing the same issue. I have just published a discussion of homosexual church leaders on my blog at

Terry Hamblin