Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm On God's Hospitality Committee. Have a Heavenly Brownie?

Thanks to the comment from Kim, who knows the words to every kids' song ever written, on the last post, and some Googling by family members, we've tracked down and identified the song that Bella was singing parts of yesterday during her sugar-fueled mania. I seriously thought it was a military anthem along the lines of "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" she'd picked up somewhere (we do live in a military town), but no, it's an old-timey Sunday-school song that they must sing at her preschool. It's called "I'm in the Lord's Army," and I admit, it IS awfully cute to see performed, what with all the marching, flying, and saluting that goes with the song.

But the more I dwell on it--and let's face it, that's what I do these days, is dwell--I'm not entirely comfortable with that concept, catchy though the tune may be (it's the same tune as "The Old Gray Mare"), because, not being an actual member OF the Bush administration or Al Quaeda, I can't quite figure what God would want with an army. The crusades have been over for a long time, and I'm pretty sure that God was soundly disassociated with that nasty business, anyway, and any other bloody war or endeavor being carried out "in His name."

When I think of a large host of people gathered together to serve God, I'm really thinking, metaphorically, more along the lines of a huge Welcoming Committee, or a really great potluck supper, than a militia. I've never learned anything through Bible study that leads me to believe that God rules by martial law.

There's also the slight creep-factor to the lyrics, which were surely written around the time of one of the World Wars, of little children wishing they were "shoot(ing) the artillery," etc.

But then, I know that my dad was a tiny tot during the WWII era, and daydreamed of going to war (he wanted to be a fighter pilot, and when he enlisted as a young adult, applied to do so, only to be sadly informed that he was TOO TALL to fit into a fighter's cockpit, so that was that), so I guess it's a generational thing. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but still. I would prefer my daughter to be a hospitality liaison for the Lord, rather than a soldier. But that's just me, the wacky non-Right-Wing Christian. (Yes, we exist...LOTS of us! As Rick Warren put it, when asked if he was "right-wing or left-wing," as relates to politics, "I'm for the whole bird!")

UPDATE: Thanks to several good friends, astute readers, and MY MOTHER (seriously, sometimes parenthood is a life sentence, my mother and me being a prime example), I was able to look at the whole "army" imagery in a better way. Sometimes the best parts of a post are definitely in the comments.

I can absolutely get behind the idea of an "army" of good and compassion, setting out to fight evil and corruption, aiding in the wake of disasters, feeding, clothing, and giving succor to those who are without food, shelter, or hope...yeah. Why don't we all do that?

Girding up my loins...

10 comments:

  1. I still remember all the motions that go with this adorable song! I'm not sure whether I'm proud or embarrassed to reveal that.

    Wait a minute. Remembering ANYTHING from that long ago is definitely a plus.

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  2. The most embarrassing song, the most politically incorrect was, and still is

    Once there were 3 wandering Jews
    Once there were 3 wandering Jews
    Wandering wandering Jew, Jew Jews
    Wandering wandering Jew, Jew Jews
    Once there were 3 wand'ring Jews

    The 1st one's name was A-bra-ham
    The 1st one's name was A-bra-ham
    The 1st one's name was A-bra-ham
    A-bra-, A-bra, ham, ham, ham
    A-bra-, A-bra, ham, ham, ham
    The 1st one's name was A-bra-ham

    The 2nd one's name was I-I-sac
    The 2nd one's name was I-I-sac
    I-I-I sac, sac, sac
    I-I-I sac, sac, sac
    The 2nd one's name was I-I-sac

    The 3rd one's name was Ja-a-cob
    the 3rd one's name was Ja-a-cob
    Jay-ay, jay-ay, cob, cob, cob
    Jay-ay, jay-ay, cob, cob, cob
    the 3rd one's name was Ja-ay-cob

    In your head the Ham Ham Ham,Sac, Sac, Sac, Cob, Cob, Cob *really, really* loud


    Me, I'm off to be a booster, a booster and boost my bible school.. Why? because I am not grumpy like a rooster.......

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  3. Well, the army song is based on putting on the armour of God to fight the war on Satan (it's in one of Paul's letters, but I can't remember which one at the moment); and the song referenced above in the other post is just a catchy way to remember the Old Testament story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the fact that the Jews WERE a wandering tribe until God chose them to be his people (Abraham) and rescued them out of Egypt and took them to a land of their own (Joseph, who was the son of Jacob.) Jacob was also known as Israel, which is where the name comes from. Got to remember that little kids learn by repeating things, and that the teachers are teaching the Bible story that goes with the songs, hopefully at least, so don't panic. Maybe when you feel better, you can go be a volunteer for a few days and see just how they do it. It'd be a good way to learn the songs, too. Guarantee you'd remember them after a day or two :)

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  4. My dear daughter,

    Remember that the Bible often uses military symbolism to describe the Christian life, speaking of "putting on the whole armor of God", with each piece of equipment being an attribute. Also, the Bible being described as a "sword". These symbols were effective 2000 years ago, even as they are today. The readers understood and identified with them.

    The "Lord's Army" would be Christians united, serving together,fighting evil, and standing up for whatever is good and righteous. The spirit of the song being that even those who never serve in the military service are still called to be "active duty" in the Lord's Army!

    Please don't let the ugly images of the wars that we humans are waging against each other today (holy wars?--I don't think so) diminish the wholesome image of a child aspiring to serve God. It's a whole different ballgame.

    And, as a side note, I love to hear Isabella sing. She sings with a combination of her mother's musical ear and her father's gusto. It's one of my favorite things in life---the sound of my grandchildren singing!

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  5. Latin poetry used martial and athletic themes to convey how passionate the speakers were about the beloved. I've seen quite a bit of the same imagery in the New Testament.

    Here's an example from 2 Timothy 2:
    "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules."

    I'm glad to read that you're doing well. I've read quite a bit from your archives, but haven't commented until now.

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  6. I always viewed the song as Christians fighting in the Lord's army against satan. More symbolical than actual fighting. As your mom stated, (so much nicer than I can) above we are to put on the whole armor of God and stand against satan's attacks.

    I don't think it is going back to the crusades or physically fighting a war, but symbolism for children to know we are fighting satan.

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  7. OK, loving SJ's pigtail photo! Hee.

    Thank you all for helping me out with that. It was really bothering me, and you KNOW my brain's not working correctly, so I needed the assist. Yup, 40 years old, and my mom is still explaining theological issues to me. She'll probably be assigned to me in Heaven. That'll teach her.

    I like that translation a lot better than what I was thinking! Also, later on, I thought of an image of an "army" of folks headed out to feed the hungry, help disaster victims, or doing what Kim is doing in Peru!

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  8. I'm guessing that the idea is much the same as the Salvation Army - doing good works in the name of Christ, waging war on poverty, hunger, misery... at least that's how I, like the rest of your commenters, choose to conceptualize it.

    Like you, I cannot conscience a war fought in the name of religion. It just doesn't make sense to me.

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  9. Yep, you're right. Remember, my brain be not working right yet. Keep that in mind the next few weeks when I say crazy or stupid things!

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  10. I really like the idea of a really huge potluck. A worldwide potluck. Everyone bring the scalloped potatoes, devilled eggs, and porcupine meatballs to feed the world!

    But then, I'm not absolutely sure but what our denominational symbol is actually the crock pot.

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