The other day as I was donating platelets at the Red Cross center. The process is quite long and they have movies you can watch so you can keep your mind occupied. I chose out the movie “Master and Commander”. As my own blood was exiting one arm and coming back to me in the other arm after going through multiple processes (quite amazing if you ask me) so that others might live, I was watching how an English captain resolutely chased a French warship half way around the world. As he did so, young men were drown, cut up, shot up, and generally not well treated as human beings. All for the sake of “England” and “France”, king and queen, pride and glory. It was a fine story! I guess?
“Master and Commander” is a movie and I have no idea if it was based on any sort of factual reality. But we know this sort of thing has been played out continuously throughout human history. Why do we do the things we do? Why do we play deadly games with the lives of our young men and women? Why is there ANYTHING like war and conflict? It is just nonsensical and daft! And yet… THIS is our lot in life: To watch and consider a young person’s LIFE… and see it summarily concluded by a piece of lead in the head or a knife through the torso. It is so distressing.
As I watch, though, I have to steal myself as I consider the reality illustrated. My heart asks: What real difference do each of those lives (or rather deaths) make in the whole scheme of things? People live. People die. What does it all matter when the life blood of one – or many – is drained? Bodies that were beautiful only a fleeting time previous are sewn up in the canvass and sink to the sea with a splash. Mere atoms in the vast universe. Life really does not even pause to look back. It is indifferent. Even cruel.
However, (thanks be to God) lest we fall for the lies of Satan, it is necessary for our hearts to be stolen back by Christ. It was lovely to hear the words of the Psalmist this last Sunday:
Psa. 8:1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
I am preparing for a memorial service this coming Saturday of a decorated veteran of World War II. I am guessing there will not be many in attendance as the vast majority of his friends and family are not living anymore. We have all forgotten his valiant efforts on behalf of our life and freedom. His death, like so many others, will pass easily from this age. But yet how beautiful is this: Mr. Rogal’s life mattered to the Lord of the Universe. He knew him by name. His every hair. He cares for him. The true Master and Commander counts him washed in the blood of the Lamb.
The Master and Commander notices and counts little me too! I matter to Him.
I like that a lot.