- "This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
- He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
- Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
- And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
- He that shall live this day, and see old age,
- Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
- And say, "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
- Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
- And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
- Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
- But he'll remember with advantages
- What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
- Familiar in his mouth as household words,
- Harry the King, Bedford, and Exeter,
- Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
- Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
- This story shall the good man teach his son;
- And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
- From this day to the ending of the world,
- But we in it shall be remembered-
- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
- For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
- Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
- This day shall gentle his condition:
- And gentlemen in England now a-bed
- Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
- And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
- That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day."
So goes the classic speech delivered by Henry V to his men just before the Battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare's famous play. It speaks of great risk, heroism, wounds taken...the glory and triumph of all sacrificed in the context of rich fellowship...wrapped arm in arm among a army of men. What could be better than that?
Last night I gathered with a "happy few", a "band of brothers", to lift a tankard to God's provision of fellowship, purpose, and life transformation. Something so rare and privileged that we all had to acknowledge the precious gift we held loosely in our hands. It has been opposed, fought for, and will involve fighting still to come.
Sadly, what is known by too few, is the offer for every man. It is our heritage, our great hope, and the promise for all. This life was not meant to be lived alone and far too many of our spiritual brethren...maybe most...walk in that unfortunate existence. My life was driving toward the inevitability of "smallness" until I made a solemn vow..."I will never be alone as a Christian man again.". Whatever the cost and no matter how difficult the journey...I will not walk another day alone.
I have had the privilege of gathering multiple times with these men for weekends where we simply offered a common experience that had impacted our lives. Boot camp weekends were rich experiences and God's presence was manifest. Men's hearts were stirred. I couldn't imagine anything sweeter.
This last weekend we basked richly in the presence and power of God with about 35 other men. Increasingly, it is less "expression of understanding known" and much more a testimony of "experience lived". What used to feel like one of those special once or twice a year summit experiences, felt a lot more like just the next weekend in an unending journey that will not find it's completion this side of eternity.
It is the stuff of a transformed life lived and not merely an infrequent experience had. It is the glory of God manifest in life the way He intended it. It is the "sweeter still" when I thought it wasn't possible. It is result of blood shed and battle scars earned. And I wouldn't trade a day of the struggle from that day to this for the glory I know God will intend from this day to the next.
May we all awake with the unquenchable thirst that can only be satisfied with courageous battle fought and victories won within a heroic fellowship. May we steadfastly refuse to live another day alone. May we not merely summit, but enjoy the full complement of God resulting in a life well lived.
His mercy, grace, and provision are so awesome and wonderful that I can scarcely take it all in. It is not what I always hoped for...it is so much more.