This past Sunday I got the chance to attend church at Ivyland New Church (ivyland.org). It was Scout Sunday, a Sunday in February when, all around the country, cub scouts, girl scouts, boy scouts, and past scouts are invited to attend church in their scout uniform. (Two of my boys are doing cub scouts for the first time so please pardon me while I share what I’m learning.)
After the service, Hayley Gunther, Chair of the General Church Committee on Scouting, presented New Church Ten Commandments awards to a number of cub scouts who had earned the award by learning about each of the Ten Commandments and how to live by them in their lives. Scout groups associated with different religious traditions have different awards that they earn. The New Church Cub Scout Award was developed by the Rev. Jeremy Simons and Kira Schadegg about 20 years ago.
The Scout Law is that a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. It’s pretty sweet to see a wiggly group of kids who are earnestly trying to live up to those values and to see the adult volunteers who give many hours of their time to help kids work towards those values through scouting.
Rev. Ryan Sandstrom, the pastor of Ivyland New Church, gave a great family talk that connected with the values of scouting. (You can find the recording of the livestream by searching for Ivyland New Church on Facebook or YouTube.) One part of his talk that particularly got the kids attention was when he pulled out a pocket knife and flicked open the blade. He talked about how a knife can be seen as a dangerous weapon or a useful tool. One of the first things my boys earned in cub scouts was their Whittling Chip (which grants them the right to carry a pocket knife to scout events), once they could recite some basic rules about safe and unsafe ways of handling a knife — rules like making sure there’s nobody else in arm’s length of you before opening your blade.
It got me thinking about how the Lord entrusts us with some pretty powerful truths — truths that can help us cut through the nonsense that the hells try to make us believe and truths that can help us to cut out habits that are not doing us any good. We can also carelessly mess around with those same truths, like a kid playing with a knife, or wield those same truths as dangerous weapons and cause a lot of harm. Can we instead have the idealism and discipline of a cub scout to commit to using what the Lord has given us only in safe and responsible ways?
“…out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:16)
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“[T]he meaning of ‘a sword’ [is] truth engaged in conflict and consequently the defence of truth, and in the contrary sense [it is] falsity engaged in conflict, and consequently the vastation of truth….” (Secrets of Heaven 4499)