The idea of a holy war, or jihad. predates the Islamists by a couple of thousand years. But we then have to ask ourselves what this means. For today’s text is as much about revolution and aggression., and it is as much about us as our enemies.

Psalm 149

5   Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6   Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7   to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8   to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9   to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!

As an aside, when people talk about Christians and Jews being weak and easily defeated… they do not like it when I start muttering decisive battles. From Lepanto to the Yom Kippur war. Well, if all you hear is ideology and no history, you will repeat the mistakes of your forefathers.   For war is a human affliction, and as a subject of Her Majesty, I live in a country from an empire, that has fought for God and Empire.

We were good at it. We are good at it.

But that is not what the real war is. The real war is a series of choices. Our true loyalty is to God alone, not to Queen, our country.

Colossians 3:1-17

1So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things – anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

We spend a lot of time in this life arguing about fornication, divorce and children. Now, given the state of the current mating environment, this is appropriate. But that is not the full teaching. We are not to be greedy, abusive, malicious, slanderous.

Here we have to watch ourselves. You are faithful? You do not look past the beauty of your wife? Excellent. But. like Captain Mal from Serenity, is your sin of Choice Wrath? Or Greed? Or are you a slanderous, gossiping troll? We all have our favourite ways to err.

These are considered the things of the flesh. And in Christ, we should do the works of Christ. With arms or without.