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Arise and Go Forth - A Pedro's Story
A group of boys.
That’s what they were.
Not men. Not soldiers. Boys.
They stood in front of me, smiles plastered on their innocent faces. Two hundred new recruits. Two hundred new recruits standing proud in brown fatigues. Two hundred new recruits ready for the adventure of war. Two hundred new recruits….
“Help me, Holy Father. Help me to speak to these boys. Help me.” I stepped up to the makeshift podium, my black robe swaying gently against the newly cut pine. I cleared my throat, gripping my worn leather Bible tightly.
“You brave men.” I paused, glancing down at my scribbled speech. “You brave men,” I repeated. “You German soldiers – hear me! The time has come. You have been called to fight for your Fatherland. It is your duty, is it not? Is it not your duty?”
Duty. Their duty.
“Men of the Fatherland! You have a duty to your country! To God! These guns you hold,” I shouted, pointing to their gleaming rifles, “These guns are your tools, tools you will use to bring glory to your Fatherland. And you, you also are a tool…a tool of God!”
“God is using you! God himself, ruler of this world and all of forevermore – He is using you. What will you do? Will you be still? Will you be cowards?”
“No!” The soldiers chanted. “We will fight! We will fight! We will fight! We will fight!”
“You will fight for the Lord Jesus Christ?”
“We will fight! We will fight! We will fight! ” Fists accompanied by shouts of agreement rose through the sea of bodies.
“Never ceasing? Never stumbling into Satan’s snares? Never fearing Death itself?”
“Never ceasing! Never ceasing!” More fists. More shouts. I lifted my hands, beckoning for silence.
“Young men, listen to me,” I said quietly. “Young men, do you realize your opportunity? Do you realize your part in God’s plan? You are the bearers of the cross! You are the crusaders, risking your lives for the advancement of Christ’s dominion. You are the heroes of the faith, striking down the enemy. Why? For God’s glory! For the glory of our Lord Jesus! It is time. It is time for Christ’s dominion. Arise and go forth!”
It was finished. The crowd erupted.
Why did they cheer? They would be dead in an hour.
I clutched the gold cross around my neck. Tears fell as I beheld Him.
There He lay nailed. Jesus.
The Christ. The Messiah.
Despised. Scorned. Beaten.
But not alone.
Arise and go forth.