On the eve of Whitmonday (the day after Pentecost) in 1865, an English school teacher and curate, Sabine Baring-Gould quickly knocked out the lyrics to a marching song for a group of kids that were to march from Horbury to Yorkshire, later apologising for the faulty lines and the speed with which the marching song was written – 15 minutes.
Today however it is one of the enduring hymns of the church. Sometimes the things with smallest beginnings endure to everyone’s surprise.
On 27 November 2009, while visiting Tracy in hospital she told us all that she had dreamt about this song and that it was for us. Tracy was in hospital because of a lung disease that was never diagnosed – she fell asleep on 11 June 2011 at 36 years of age – and in the intervening years, like soldiers, we her family have had to continue marching.
The meaning of this life and the next is found in knowing God, who created us and has a plan for all of us, and this is the truth that we walk in and the truth that Tracy walked in and is our destiny.
In Paul’s letter of 2 Timothy he says to “endure suffering along with [him], as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” The world is a fallen place and there have always been wars and there always will be wars until the return of Christ, and soldiers have therefore always been with us, as has suffering. The motto of the United States Marine Corps is the Latin ‘Semper Fidelis’, where they pledge to always be faithful to the Corps. We are in a greater army, a heavenly Corps and we will be faithful to our Commander and King. This blog is an invitation for you to consider your place in His Kingdom and continue to march as a good soldier into the future and destiny that He has laid out for you, never giving up or surrendering to temptation or despair.