Desmond Doss wouldn’t carry a rifle. That didn’t define his life. What defined him was what, or who he would carry.
As Desmond Doss and the troops of the 77th Infantry Division fought to secure Hacksaw Ridge, recently made famous again by the movie, they came up against seemingly insurmountable odds. One night, with his wounded friends calling out for help, while the enemy kept up its barrage, Desmond Doss ran back into the battlefield. He was on a mission to save those wounded soldiers. He carried the first one to safety, lowering him on a rope down the escarpment to the beach below. Then he prayed to his God that he might be mighty enough to save just one more. And he did. Seventy-five times, seventy-five lives saved by this one soldier who would not carry a weapon, but who would carry his friends. In the end, Desmond Doss is transformed in the eyes of his superiors from one mentally unfit to serve to a hero who earns the rarely awarded Medal of Honor.
As we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, Joy Sunday, we find that God has a title, ‘Mighty Warrior’. (Zephaniah 3:17) Is this the Messiah whose coming again we await? Don’t we celebrate the Messiah who is the Prince of Peace? Is the Mighty Warrior also the Prince of Peace?
The picture painted by the whole of Scripture is textured with beautiful, multi-layered images of Messiah. When we take in the full picture we understand why we need a ‘Christ’.
The human race, the earth, the universe itself, is at war. The war against sin and sins. The war against evil. The war against complacency in the face of hate and prejudice. We are in a war, full of daily battles against so many demons of so many varieties. We long for peace, a peace that will finally result in joy.
How do we ultimately find joy? We, wounded soldiers all, are carried by a Mighty Warrior to the shores of Peace. And when we are safely there, the prophet gives us one more picture which stirs our souls: The Mighty Warrior ‘will rejoice over you with singing.’ Joy, joy, joy. The Mighty Warrior, the Prince of Peace, sings with joy over you, his redeemed.