~~~Photo, by Jyoti Singh, Unsplash
As Easter Monday 2022 dawned, I did not feel like I was basking in Christ’s victory, celebrated just the day before. Frankly, I felt beaten up as I eased into a chair with tea, a breakfast smoothie and, yes, my cell phone, to listen to a friend’s message on Whatsapp, sent before Easter.
“The bell has rung for the next round!…Go forth warriors!”
Those were among the closing words of my friend and her husband as they led their viewers in a short biblical ‘pep talk’ on spiritual warfare. They were as beautifully quirky and uniquely Jamaican as they come, parrying back and forth; responding and exclaiming; questioning as well as affirming each other’s comments throughout the lesson. My interest grew from my initial lazy slurping and surfing as they got into their message, since I had been recently tempted to drop arms in some personal battles of my own. Their earnest, joyful jostle and banter tumbled out as they sought to get in all their thoughts, flamboyantly framed in the orange swirling graphics of their screen. They were broadcasting from a local Canadian Christian radio station.
The call was to be disciplined soldiers; that the battle was not so much against the adverse circumstances that confront us all in one way or another, but primarily against our flesh, that is our sloppy, knee-jerk, impulsive reactions to adversity. “Well-trained soldiers cannot afford to default to what their flesh wants to do,” they admonished, “though it is often easiest, laziest or most gratifying to do so in a heated moment of personal interaction or conflict.” The well-trained and disciplined are ready to answer according to the training of their Commander, they explained. A key challenge that morning on “Faith Bite withFaith Five” 🙂 was to “Check in with the Trainer each day”— if one desires to fight well.
I had smiled patronizingly at my friend and her husband, but was soon drawn in by the wisdom they spoke, but more so, by them. Their show was like a mini-Battle-Royale in itself— a friendly scrimmage against the clock and each other’s eagerness to share the word they believed God had assigned them to deliver that day. Out of fondness, love and respect for my high-school sister and nursing friend I leaned in. However eccentrically delivered, I heard aspects of their over thirty-years of marriage recounted and interwoven, stream of consciousness style, illustrating the message, as they interacted with each other and the Scriptures. I was upbraided:
How often had I drawn back from delivering Jesus’ victory and Kingdom message across enemy lines, perceived or real, for fear of being seen as unprofessional, novice, even imposter…(Anyone?) Their interruptions of each other, trampling on parts of each other’s sentences yet equally yielding to one another; her rocking back and forth in agreement (or was that self-restraint ?), his effusive experience-rich and apt illustrations (which she had to rein in from time to time;-) ); his passionate and fatherly challenges based in the Word— their unpolished style itself was the Holy Spirit’s illustration to me that morning. Nothing would stop their pressing forward in spiritual warfare. The King’s message would get through!— both the one they spoke, as well as the one they were: ‘Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, hardly notices when others do it wrong…rejoices in the truth.’(1 Cor.13:4-6 par).
I swallowed every drop. It was more than a bite… even a faith bite; it was a full meal, and exactly the reminder that I needed, every down-to-earth, unsophisticated moment of it. Well-fought guys! Thanks for helping me check in with the Trainer, the Victor, for the next round this Easter Monday.
*Anthony and Cheryl Nelson have served widely and successfully as ministers in Ontario, having migrated to Canada from Jamaica, a couple decades ago. They are veteran homeschooling parents as well as joyous grand-parents. Their inspirational programme, “Faith Bite with Faith Five” airs in Canada on PrayzFM Canada and can be found on Youtube at the URL below.