When you read this word you think of the military. I have friends, family and loved ones who are or have been deployed. They have left their safety net and have entered the fray of life in unfamiliar territory. One of my members sent a graphic that said ... "The Church is not empty ... the Church is deployed!" I love that!
On that 1st Palm Sunday Jesus had left the relative safety of traveling in rural Israel, away from Jewish leadership and Roman governance. He had entered the place where a major battle ... the battle for our very souls, would take place. He and 12 disciples were deployed, and they began to get an idea of what the real Church is like. It is the Church that stood outside the very gates of hell, ready to claim Jesus' promise that it would somehow not be overcome. None of the 12 really understood.
In one of my favorite movies, The Return of the King (J. R. R. Tolkien), Aragorn talks to his troops who are about to battle the enemy forces at the Black Gate. He tells them about the fear he is feeling and his total faith that they will not faint or fail in the face of that fear. They have been deployed for this purpose and this is their time to shine.
Over the next few weeks we will all have a chance to shine in this battle that is more spiritual than you think. Maybe the battle is seeing past the enemy to blessings that are happening ... victories we don't even see. One friend said, "I hope we never forget this time where cell phones and computers became tools for ministry ... where we recaptured the beauty and blessing of the outdoors ... where homes became places where we prayed daily ... where our children became real people to us again ... where a phone call wasn't an annoyance but was a meaningful connection ... where checking on a friend became urgent and appreciated ... where Scripture became real to us ... where we remembered the sacrifice of our Savior ... where every moment of life became precious." Add to this list what you will! But remember ... we are deployed into the territory of the enemy. We have been given many tools to overcome, taught to us by our Master. Jesus is teaching us to 1) get past our fears ... 2) embrace those Jesus has given us to love ... 3) rely on Jesus' example of sacrificial love ... 4) use this time to grow ... 5) allow Jesus to teach us the lessons of life, love and grace ... 6) remember that we are deployed to do Jesus' work ... 7) never forget that the very gates of Hell will not overcome us if we trust and follow Jesus!