“A line in the sand can become a rut. A rut can become a ditch, and a ditch can be worn into a pit. There’s not much difference between a pit and a grave, Miss Becky,”
BREAKING TWIG, Deborah Epperson
As a child I watched the Disney series on the life of Davy Crockett…king of the wild frontier. I can still remember the series theme song and I suspect many others growing up in the 1950’s can…
Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee
Greenest state in the Land of the Free
Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree
Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three.
Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier
Did I care that the history was flawed? No! The great thing about a series like this was the interest it aroused in me about history and the people who carved out this great land. For someone like me it sent me searching for more information about for example the ALAMO, which had not been introduced in the 4th grade curriculum at Frederick Central Grade School. Ten Facts About the Battle of the Alamo
In the last of the Davy Crockett series he had joined the ill fated tattered group of fighters* defending Texas against the powerful Mexican army under the command of General Santa Anna. As the end is in site, Colonel William Travis, co-commander of the Texas Republic troops at the Alamo, gives the troops a chance to leave. He takes his sword and draws a line in the sand. One by one the men on the other side cross over vowing to die for Texas independence. So I learned at age 9 that certainly lines in the sand can become graves, but I doubt I really thought about that much at the time.
This past week news programs have tossed about and questioned President Obama’s or the countries with 98% of the world’s population’s “red line” regarding the use of chemical warfare and the appropriate response to such actions. No one questions whether Syria has used chemical warfare on their own people, even Syria acknowledges that. No one questions whether or not the use of these weapons represent atrocities, the video record of 400 children injured and killed in these attacks is compelling evidence. The line has been crossed, and it would seem the Syrian government has leaned over and with blood dripping from their fingertips drawn their own red line.
I do not claim to know what the correct response should be. Certainly, a plethora of opinions among political and military leaders here in the United States and around the world are being expressed. The line in the sand gapes with the graves of the innocents.
History demonstrates this over and over. Hitler marched throughout Europe, gathering the innocents to be slaughtered, drawing red line after red line until the threat touched home. Graves upon graves lined up until to not respond would have allowed evil to triumph.
As a Christian, I know that Jesus warned us that there would be wars and rumors of wars. I know when he knelt to write in the sand as the crowd stood ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, his lines in the sand dispersed the crowd and left the woman alive and uncondemned. I know that we are told to overcome evil with good. What I do know is that as a Christian I am to care for the lives of others, especially the orphans and widows. I know that being a peacemaker is not the same as being a pacifist.
What I don’t know is whether air strikes on Syrian national forces are the good that will defeat evil; I don’t know, if the Syrian rebels are the good guys, or whether airstrikes will stop chemical weapons used on civilians or even soldiers. I also don’t know how many more graves will result from the lines human beings draw in the sand, but Jesus told us to expect this and to live as children of light in a world of darkness.
I pray for our leaders, our military, and our missionaries who face enormous dangers and challenges everyday. I am thankful for the civil freedoms I have because our military forces have sacrificed to keep us safe, but I am most thankful for the spiritual freedom I have because Jesus Christ died for my sins. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide my prayers and my actions so that in whatever small way, I can stand for good and against evil.
And I pray that like Jesus if I kneel to draw lines in the sand that they bring life and forgiveness, not death and destruction.
*ethnicity among the Texan defenders, 13 were native-born Texans, with 11 of these 13 being of Mexican descent. The rest of the Alamo defenders consisted of 41 men born in Europe, 2 Jews, 2 blacks, and the remainder were Americans from states other than Texas. Santa Anna’s forces were a conglomeration of former Spanish citizens, Spanish-Mexican mestizos, and indigenous Mexicans–wikipedia.org source:. Flores, Richard R. Remembering the Alamo (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002)