Circle the Wagons

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I love old movies, especially westerns. 

I really enjoy watching such stars as John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark, Richard Boone, Steve McQueen, William Boyd, Slim Pickens, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, James Arness, Gene Barry, Gary Cooper, Duncan Renaldo, Gabby Hayes, Dale Robertson, Clint Walker, Chuck Connors, Jimmie Stewart, Clayton Moore, Andy Devine, and a bunch of others who made the old westerns so entertaining.

Of course, not everyone loves them like I do. But that’s alright. I’ll enjoy them till the day I die.

Some folks say, “You’ve seen one western, you’ve seen them all.”

I don’t agree.

Movies such as “The Searchers”, “High Noon”, “Shenandoah”, and “Chisum” all have pistol packing men as stars, but each movie stands alone in its greatness.

Allow me to refresh your memory just a bit. I’m going to give you two words, and with them possibly draw a parallel between the old west and something Jesus said.

Wagon trains.

Yep, wagon trains.

Remember the old show, Wagon Train? Or how about Rawhide?

What’s one thing that comes to mind as you picture the old wagon train? It’s probably the sound of the wagon master hollering, “Indians! Robbers! Circle the wagons! Circle the wagons!”

People from all walks of life, with their hearts set on traveling west to seek their fame and fortune, joined the wagon trains. They joined primarily for safety reasons, but also because of the experience of the wagon master and his scouts.

Traveling 10-20 miles per day, it took 3-6 months to complete the 2,000 mile journey from St. Louis to San Francisco. Hardships such as inclement weather, robbers, Indian attacks, and sickness could lengthen the journey by as much as a month or two.

But each traveler had a dream; a dream of a future and a hope. California, the Land of Promise. 

“Go west, young man!”

It’s odd that perfect strangers could learn so quickly to heed the voice of the wagon master when he yelled, “Circle the wagons!

They may not have seen the enemy, and maybe didn’t like the other travelers, but they trusted the master enough to obey his command.

Circle the wagons!

Today in this journey we call life, our heart is set on our future and hope. The Promised Land. And some day, with God’s help, we’ll make it.
But the road isn’t an easy one; there are enemies all along the way. And though we find ourselves traveling with people we may not be fond of, we must learn to stay together for the sake of everyone.

Jesus prayed a prayer in John 17. Here’s a portion of it; the part that specifically applies to us:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21 NKJV)

Unity. Joined together as one. One church, one body.

With ONE ENEMY. The one who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The Master has been instructing, “Circle the wagons!” What does the church do?

We break up into our own little groups, and with our special version of the gospel gun, join in with the enemy by shooting at one another.

That’s not how they did it in the old west!

The Psalmist said, “How good and pleasant it is when men dwell in unity…”

You reckon the Psalmist would like the old westerns?

I reckon so.