I'm going to speak allegorically for a while because I believe y'all can handle it. My job in the Kingdom requires that I carry a sword, a shining sword that reflects the sunlight like a mirror. It is a large and heavy sword, it's difficult to wield, and it's a real pain to carry. But when I heft it properly it's an incredibly dangerous weapon in the Kingdom. I think of it as a Scottish Claymore, large, heavy, people shake their heads and wonder how the hell I can carry that thing around.
Quite frankly, at my position at the head of legion, my job is sometimes simply to carry the sword high above my head so everyone can see the Sonlight reflecting off of it like a blazing light. Sometimes simply the sight of the sword, the fact that someone has the guts to carry it, inspires other men to rumble up and roll out to the fight.
Because I'm at the head of an army, and I'm carrying such a large sword, the enemy sees it as a threat. They reckon if they can take me down, If I stumble and fall, others will mock me, mock my calling, mock my King . So the stones and arrows come fast and thick. I have at Shield of Faith and I'm able to hide behind it a lot. But not all the time. When time comes to wield the sword, I must put down the shield, and that's when the attacks come thickest. I rely on my armor, and the men around me with their Shields, to make it through these difficult times.
When I swing the shining, sharp sword it has a incredible effectiveness. Heads roll, and enemies run, the foes of the Kingdom fall out of the way. Sometimes I swing my sword against the enemy's battering rams, and it becomes dented, dull, ineffective, black with blood, and shines no more. At these times, sometimes I sit down, depressed, overwhelmed, unable to continue swinging an ineffective weapon. Or at least it feels ineffective. At these moments there's only one answer, time to sharpen the sword!
Sharpening the sword is a process. When it's dented it can't be sharpened until the King comes to heat it and hammer it true. And hammer he does. It's incredibly painful to hold the hot sword over the fire while the blood burns off and the King is hammering on it. The shocks and reverberations go through my hands and forearms, already weary of holding the sword and swinging it, now being hammered by the King.
The king cannot allow me to fight with a dented sword. He cannot allow others to see that his servant is ineffective, and broken. He hammers the metal and heats it, he beats on it and treats it, for only when it's brought back into true line can it be sharpened.
The Kings plan is that the sharpening is left to my brothers. They come in and point out the dull edge of the sword, and how the mirror finish that reflects the Sonlight is blackened by the fire I've been in. They talk, criticise and comment, and it's painful, but true.
They begin to work their sharpening stones against it. Each one has a different stone for a different purpose, some coarse to remove scars and chunks, some fine grit to bring out the razor edge. Sometimes sparks fly. Sometimes I don't want to be sharpened, I'm so weary of battle, weary of getting hammered on by the King , but without my brothers, who carry the sharpening stones, my sword is ineffective.
At times I shout for them to leave me alone, to let me lay ineffective, weary exhausted and depressed, and forget that I even have a sword. What would be life be like if I went back to being a peasant in the Kingdom, wouldn't it be simpler not to be a warrior?
But my brother's never let up. Sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, sometimes they weary of sharpening my sword and walk away, leaving the army to fend for itself. But slowly in the firelight, the black steel is buffed into its shining self. Slowly it begins to reflect the flames like mirrors, slowly it becomes the great Claymore, ready to be raised as a standard, worthy of being held up before the army, and leading into battle. Without the painful hammering of the King, the painful sharpening of the brothers, this sword would be useless, as would I.
In this process, sometimes we are tempted to push the brothers away, and say that our sword is plenty effective, it can still be used to injure the enemies, it can still be used to batter and break, if not slice and shape. In fact, this is why our army is so ineffective. We field a legion of men who nurse their swords as though they were babies, refusing them to allow the King to hammer on them and bring them true, refusing to allow the brothers to sharpen them. When one Fell Swoop should slice off the enemy's head, it only bruises him, a dented dull weapon no better than a club.
My personality is such that I hate the sharpening of the brothers, I recoil from it, you dare to question me? And yet The Secret Of The Shining sword, with the reflection like a mirror, is the sharpening of the brothers. For there is no mighty warrior who walks alone, in this Kingdom.
So here is to the brothers who sharpen my sword. Who watch the King hammer on me, who stand beside me in flame and furor, who hold their shields close to me. Without you, there is no sword.
James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club