Monday, August 19, 2019

The Rebel Yell

   If the blasts of cannon shells and a hailstorm of bullets fired by the thousands, was not enough to make a battle terrifying, there was the added banshee cry of advancing Southern infantry.  The battle cry of the Confederate Army as they charged the Union lines was given the legendary name, 'The Rebel Yell'.  Since there were no audio recordings during the Civil War, we only have I witness descriptions of what it may have sounded like. Some accounts describe it like a Scottish Highlander battle cry. This seems plausible since many Celtic people made up the Southern Army.  Others said it sounded more like an imitation Native American war cry, which also seems logical from the time period.  Still others believed it was more like the sound of a pack of hunting hounds chasing their prey.  What ever the exact sound was, those who hear it said it caused a, 'tingling sensation to go up one's spine'.  In Ken Burn's documentary The Civil War, historian Shelby Foote recounts the story of an old Confederate veteran invited to speak before a ladies' society dinner. They asked him for a demonstration of the rebel yell, but he refused on the grounds that it could only be done "at a run", and couldn't be done anyway with "a mouth full of false teeth and a stomach full of food". 
   After reading that quote from that Southern veteran, I could not help but see a parallel  between his reasoning and the Christian believer.  He found it difficult to pull up the true battle cry, when not in battle.  He found it impossible to give a true rendition of something that takes a real hunger to replicate. There is a passion that wells up in a person that can only come in the heat and pressure of battle.  Have we lost that sense of desperation in our pursue of God?  The Psalmist describes that kind of desperation, "As the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul pants for you, O Lord."  Ps. 42:1
When all is well and quiet in our life.  When we are in a place of comfort and ease.  When we find ourselves needing nothing, there is no need to desperately press into God.  Jesus spoke a parable of a person in that condition, "A rich man had such a good harvest that he decided to stop working, build bigger barns to store his produce and from that day forward to just eat, drink and make merry.  Not knowing that his life would soon come to an end, and his laziness would not be looked on fondly by his maker."  Lk. 12:16-21
   I suppose that old Rebel veteran could have given a halfhearted attempt to please the gathered group of admirers, but his heart would not have been in it.  For the true rebel yell he needed to be running, passionately toward the enemy and victory.  It was difficult to do that at a sedate women's luncheon.  Have we lost our way?  Do we wander away from the Battle lines instead of toward them.  It is hard to pull up a passionate cry for God when we no longer hunger and thirst?
"They that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be satisfied."  Matt. 5:6
Are you still excited about your Savior? Are you still looking for new ways to serve Him, or have you already emotionally retired from the labor of the Kingdom?  One way to judge is by your Battle Cry.  Fervent prayer and exuberant praise is our 'Rebel Yell'.  Are you still able to bring it forth?

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