A Hollow Analogy (Why I Like “One Tin Soldier”)

I’ve always been a sucker for music. Besides modern worship, my favorites tend to be the story songs. These are the ones where the lyricist writes words that paint pictures and tell stories and teach lessons.

You probably know the song, but I’m including a link to a version in another window in case you don’t. (And I promise it’s one of the less dark videos around 😀 ).

When I was younger, I loved the rebellious spirit of the chorus. You could almost see a petulant teen with a raised fist sarcastically telling someone who had hurt him to just hate and cheat and be sure to justify everything by claiming you have all the authority you need directly from heaven.

As I got older (translated had kids), I saw the chorus as a challenge, a challenge to the rampant hypocrisy in most denominational pews. We are quick to judge the murderer and the rapist, but we so often forget to speak lovingly to our spouses and to be sure to give our families proper time. We claim we love and serve God, yet we find it hard to attend the recital of a neighbor’s child or help in volunteer efforts to clean an elderly widow’s yard.

Even older, with my kids as teens, (besides doing deep breathing to the flute licks for relaxation), I see an analogy to the Kingdoms of Darkness and Light.

The mountain people represent the Kingdom of Light. It was peace and cooperation and relationship that these people valued. They even created a monument, a stone engraved with “Peace on Earth” to remind them of their values. They called peace their greatest treasure.

The valley folk were a little different. Their treasures were literal treasures: gold and riches. Maybe they even felt the mountain’s position was strategic for holding power. They represent the Kingdom of Darkness. And they were so jealous because they heard the mountain had a treasure.

They sent a message to the mountain, requesting immediate transfer of all gold and treasure. The mountain people, knowing the treasure they held was intangible, offered to share. Of course, the valley people were enraged and killed the entire population on the mountain… and were sorely disappointed to find the treasure wasn’t a thing but an idea and the people that supported it.

So too it is today. The valley folk who choose the Kingdom of Darkness, held back by greed and jealousy, want so badly the treasure that the mountain people, children in the Kingdom of Light, hold. The Kingdom of Darkness cannot understand that the treasure is not power or position or possession. They cannot understand it is peace and cooperation and relationship. This results in enmity and jealousy and division and disunity and discontent.

So today, I am reminded that I must follow my still, small Voice. I must choose the values of the mountain people of the Kingdom of Light. I must choose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. I must not focus my eyes on possession and power and position. I must keep my eyes on the still, small Voice.

And that is the choice we all face every day.


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