Posted by: jhvn | 02/12/2013

Caution Christian Soldiers

Since this Geezer studied and served in churches during part of  his adulthood, it should not be surprising that he will find himself commenting from time to time on the situation of the Church from his growing awareness provided by geezerhood. These comments will emerge from time to time under a different category of posts — Geezerhood Comments to the Church — so you can avoid them if the church is not your cup of tea.

This comment was provoked by a phone call last Saturday afternoon. Blizzzard warnings had been put out for the weekend, and about 2 feet of snow had fallen by the time of the phone call. However the snowfall had stopped and the sun was peeping out. This geezer had driven his plow truck to town for gas and found the roads easily passable. So when the telephone caller said that church worship was cancelled for the following day, A loud WHAAAT?! spontaneously erupted from this geezer’s mouth — to which the caller gave a great belly laugh.

Well Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. This geezer’s private worship was particularly meaningful – reflecting on Jesus’s Transfiguration. Yesterday, Monday morning, during meditation a parody on Onward Christian Solders began to emerge so strongly that it had to be written down — before breakfast! After the usual editing and stewing in the unconscious overnight, this uncharacteristic poetic creation begged to be posted on this blog. So the new category was developed, and here goes.

Caution, Christian soldiers,

Escape the inner war;

When the dark clouds gather,

Seek shelter from the storm.

Fears and doubts assail us;

We know not where to turn.

Best stay home, be safe and warm,

And make the home fires burn.

Caution, Christian soldiers,

Face our inner war.

When the dark clouds gather,

Seek shelter from the storm.

Evil forces challenge

Selfish winds prevail.

Poor and homeless suffer

Wealthy scoffers sail.

Fearful of strong action,

Christians feign concern;

But when called to meet and pray

They make their home fires burn.

Caution, Christian Soldiers,

Face our inner war.

When the dark clouds gather,

Seek shelter from the storm.

Like a frightened army

Moves the church of God.

Avoiding Christ our leader

And the path he trod.

“Where two or three are gathered,

“I’ll be surely there .”

His Spirit is our only hope

For Love to conquer fear.

Caution Christian soldiers

Face our inner call.

Or we may lose the struggle

For Life and Love for All

© John Van Ness 2/11/13 with apologies to Sabine Baring-Gould


  1. Ouch! Good one! The explanation given me by the person who called me, and who, I assume was one of the deciders, explained to me that we were likely to get only ten or so worshippers if we held worship as usual. I could sympathize a bit with some of the other rationales that were given me – but this one was not one of them. I didn’t come up with a hymn to express my feelings, but yours is a masterpiece! Thanks.


  2. I was in Florida during the big sttorm, chuckling over the local fascination with NE weather and their glee at missing such disaster – I on the other hand was wishing that I was in the middle of the Nor’easter, rather than the sunny 80 degree south. If I were here in Jaffrey and you were to have a service at your rural location, I would join you courtesy of my trusty Suburu, singing all the while the words to a favorite hymn made more appropos by your craft! My thanks added to Tucks – 0wen

  3. I wondered myself about the cancellation…great poem!
    This is such a nice blog site, John. Love that straw hat! Ilona

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