In that place between wakefulness and dreams I wrestle with the risk of liberty. I ponder the rules of war. I wonder how it is that Love succeeds even when it seems to fail… And then I see it.
. . . .
Upon the slopes of Sinai stand I, eyes on a drama unfolding below. Two great armies fill the plain; meet in the midst in a perfect line. Their commanders sit upon regal horses, men both of great stature and commanding presence. At the first glance, and from my distance, the sides appear indistinguishable.
Motionless stand they, and grave. For I perceived that though the one side cares nothing for the rules of engagement, they dare not disobey them when confronted by this host.
I wonder for what intent they have assembled here. I have not long to wait.
Suddenly a disturbance in the ranks on the left, and the whole force is in motion. With a calm and assurance that breathes of victory already, the great host rightward makes their advance. The clash is tremendous. I assure you, you have never seen a fight until you have watched angels in conflict.
But I see the wonder: there has comes from one mouth on the left a cry I could not hear. Not for my distance, nor for the noise of the battle. But Someone heard it. And suddenly the one Commander stands up in His stirrups; raises a glittering Sword high above His head. And there is a great and terrible silence. It seems as though the entire host on the left is suddenly paralyzed. As though they had every one of them suddenly lost the duel with his antagonist, and now stand at sword-point, desperate, but dumb.
Dumb, except for their commander. Who stands up also in his stirrups and roars unthinkable blasphemies.
And then I see him. The one who’d cried out. Two great warriors cross the battle line, weave through the throng, take his hands and lead him to the other side. Theirs, the only motion in the whole of the plain
A prisoner? think I.
Nay, for behold, he is straightaway given a sword.
I turn to a silent watcher beside me. What means this?
This is a battle for a soul. One soul.
These armies, indistinguishable to the untrained eye–
They are made up of mighty angels, and common people.
And one thing most notable sets them apart. (Besides the character of their commanders.)
The one has gained its every recruit by impressment, imprisonment, deception, and coercion.
The other accepts only volunteers.
The rules of war are in our favor.
When in the midst of battle one of ours defects, he is allowed to go, though chains await him.
When one of theirs believes, we go in and get him.
And we have the Sword.
And we have the Lord Glorious.
They are all slaves.
We’re all loving servants.
Of course Love has the advantage.