Wednesday, May 8, 2013

_____Loyalty and submission to God______ As illustrated by a ragtag band of pirates

The “Pirates of Penzance,” a Gilbert and Sullivan musical which is most widely known for  the Modern Major General song, has always been a favorite movie of mine. If you haven't watched the movie yet (the version with Kevin Kline), I highly recommend that you do so at once!

It's a heart-warming story about a band of pirates who make their living by attacking and looting other ships, but who, nonetheless, try to live by a simple set of morals that they all hold to and also respect the conscience of others. For example, near the beginning, Frederick quits their pirate band and lets the Pirate King know that he intends to come back with the police force and wipe them from the face of the map, because of their evil profession. Upon hearing this, the Pirate King replies,

“if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act according to the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and CHANCE the CONSEQUENCES!!!”

And you know, that's probably a good level of respect that we all should have toward our opponents who are acting according to their convictions, whether we agree or disagree with them on the matter. But, anyway, the film progresses until we reach a final showdown between the police force and the pirates, and, well, the police lose in about 4 minutes, and end up being thrown into a great big heap together, surrounded by pirates.

But, just as we think that the pirates have won, the police chief gets up and gives a speech: “To gain a brief advantage you've contrived, but your proud triumph will not be long-lived!” Continuing, he says, (or sings, rather): “We charge you yield! In Queen Victoria's name!”

Then, it actually works. “We yield at once with humbled mien,” responds the Pirate King, “because, with all our faults, we love our queen.” And thus, the Pirate King, and all of his followers, leave their life of piracy behind.

At first thought, that seems wildly unrealistic. A whole band of pirates, BAM!, just like that, renouncing their life of crime? Because of an appeal to alliance?  Well, I think that's how it should work in the Christian life. We are loyal to God, our King and LORD, but at the same time we often choose patterns of behavior which (whether we know it or not) do not please Him at all.

To change us from a specific ungodly path, all it should take is one person showing us that God doesn't want us to go down that path, and appealing to our alliance to God in the matter. That's all it should take to persuade us to do a 180 in any particular aspect of our lives (though the actual continuation on that path might be fraught with difficulty).

It would be nice if we could instantly live a perfect life, with perfect knowledge of what's right and wrong in any given situation, and never sinned in thought, action, or word.  But, that is a goal that we will not achieve fully until we reach heaven.  The best we can do, while here on each living flawed lives, is this:  live in humility, being open to possibility that we are doing it wrong, seeking wisdom from God, listening to input from others, and at every point where we find that have been living in a way that God objects to, yielding to God at once with humble mien.  That's how I want to live my life, anyway.  Because, with all my faults, I love our King!



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