Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

I believe that walking in the Spirit is preparatory to coming to Christ. You must at least believe there is a spiritual realm that has pre-eminence over the physical one in order to even embark on the long rugged road that leads to the Lord’s waiting arms.

Below is a song I listened to repeatedly recently before I found Christ. I’ve included it here, with short notes on how it relates to the Gospel of Christ, as others may find this interesting or helpful. If you’d like to message me with your own notes on what helped lead you to the Lord Jesus Christ during your lifetime, please feel free to do so.

BROTHERS IN ARMS by Dire Straits

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be

Some day you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher

And though we were hurt so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun’s gone to hell
And the moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die

But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We’re fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

The second verse of this song reminds me of the promise God’s Spirit made to us through Isaiah 2:4:

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The final verse recalls Christ’s pronouncement in Matthew 5:9, during his sermon on the mount:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

The fact that the songwriter says the final verse is “written in the starlight” and “every line in your palm” also points to the eternal spiritual truths behind it. Now God has opened heaven’s doors to all people on earth, not just his chosen nation of Israel, thereby writing his commandments (such as Christ’s above) on the fleshy tables of our hearts once we follow Him in faith:

Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Hebrews 8:10
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people

2 Corinthians 3:3
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

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The Last Ship by JRR Tolkien

I believe that walking in the Spirit is preparatory to coming to Christ.

You must at least believe there is a spiritual realm that has pre-eminence over the physical one in order to even embark on the long rugged road that leads to the Lord’s waiting arms.

Below is another poem I found that stirred up my spirit during
my lifetime. I’ve included it here, with short notes on how it relates to the Gospel of Christ, as others may find this interesting or helpful. If you’d like to message me with your own notes on what helped lead you to the Lord Jesus Christ during your lifetime, please feel free to do so.

THE LAST SHIP by JRR Tolkien

Firiel looked out at three o’clock:
the grey night was going;
far away a golden cock
clear and shrill was crowing.
The trees were dark, and the dawn pale,
waking birds were cheeping,
a wind moved cool and frail
through dim leaves creeping.

She watched the gleam at window grow,
till the long light was shimmering
on land and leaf; on grass below
grey dew was glimmering.
Over the floor her white feet crept,
down the stair they twinkled,
through the grass they dancing stepped
all with dew besprinkled.

Her gown had jewels upon its hem,
as she ran down to the river,
and leaned upon a willow-stem,
and watched the water quiver.
A kingfisher plunged down like a stone
in a blue flash falling,
bending reeds were softly blown,
lily-leaves were sprawling.

A sudden music to her came,
as she stood there gleaming
with fair hair in the morning’s flame
on her shoulders streaming.
Flutes were there, and harps were wrung,
and there was sound of singing,
like wind-voices keen and young
and far bells ringing.

A ship with golden beak and oar
and timbers white came gliding;
swans went sailing on before,
her tall prow guiding.
Fair folk out of Elvenland
in silver-grey were rowing,
and three with crowns she saw there stand
with bright hair flowing.

With harp in hand they sang their song
to the slow oars swinging;
‘Green is the land the leaves are long,
and the birds are singing.
Many a day with dawn of gold
this earth will lighten,
many a flower will yet unfold,
ere the cornfields whiten.

‘Then whither go ye, boatmen fair,
down the river gliding?
To twilight and to secret lair
in the great forest hiding?
To Northern isles and shores of stone
on strong swans flying,
by cold waves to dwell alone
with the white gulls crying?’

‘Nay!’ they answered. ‘Far away
on the last road faring,
leaving western havens grey,
the seas of shadow daring,
we go back to Elvenhome,
where the White Tree is growing,
and the Star shines upon the foam
on the last shore flowing.

‘To mortal fields say farewell,
Middle-earth forsaking!
In Elvenhome a clear bell
in the high tower is shaking.
Here grass fades and leaves fall,
and sun and moon wither,
and we have heard the far call
that bids us journey thither’.

The oars were stayed. They turned aside:
‘Do you hear the call, Earth-maiden?
Firiel! Firiel!’ they cried,
‘Our ship is not full-laden.
One more only we may bear.
Come! For your days are speeding.
Come! Earth-maiden elven-fair,
our last call heeding.’

Firiel looked from the river-bank,
one step daring;
then deep in clay her feet sank,
and she halted staring.
Slowly the elven-ship went by
whispering through the water;
‘I cannot come!’ they heard her cry.
‘I was born Earth’s daughter!’

No jewels bright her gown bore,
as she walked back from the meadow
under roof and dark door,
under the house-shadow.
She donned her smock of russet brown,
her long hair braided,
and to her work came stepping down.
Soon the sunlight faded.

Year still after year flows
down the Seven Rivers;
cloud passes, sunlight glows,
reed and willow quivers
at morn and eve, but never more
westward ships have waded
in mortal waters as before,
and their song has faded.

To me this poem is about the battle between the spirit (the world the Elves hail from) and earthly flesh (as illustrated so aptly by the clay Firiel’s feet sink into).

Elvenhome and its selfless, noble elves are analagous – to me – to the Kingdom of God, and God’s messengers (if you substitute Christ and His angels for the Elves). So the poem then becomes a wake for the fleeting, fading beauties of Earth, which are forsaken by God’s messengers for the eternal, never-fading joys of Heaven.

The most poignant part of this poem for me is Firiel’s cry, “I cannot come…I was born Earth’s daughter.” That always struck home with me as a child due to the pre-birth memories I fought to keep uppermost in my mind. I know that I – like all souls – did not originate here on Earth so I must bear this in mind when seeking to journey back, like the Prodigal Son, to Christ’s Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

I believe that walking in the Spirit is preparatory to coming to Christ.

You must at least believe there is a spiritual realm that has pre-
eminence over the physical one in order to even embark on the long rugged road that leads to the Lord’s waiting arms.

Below is a poem that stirred up my spirit during my lifetime, before I came to Christ. I’ve included it here, with a brief note on how it relates to the Gospel of Christ, as others may find this interesting or helpful. If you’d like to message me with your own notes on what helped lead you to the Lord Jesus Christ during your lifetime, please feel free to do so.

THE LISTENERS by Walter de la Mare

“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest’s ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
“Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:–
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

My notes:
The above stirs my spirit mostly because of the poignancy and loneliness of the Traveller, who alone is living and faithful in the country he journeys to. No-one responds to his call yet he remains true, delivering his message as promised, though only the dead hear him.

The above can be seen in Christ too, who is ever called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). Christ also tells us that he is always waiting for us (the spiritually dead here on earth) to answer his call to redemption: “behold, I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev. 3:20).

Christ was also known as the “man of sorrows” as most people on earth rejected his message of hope…so in truth both he and his disciples could identify with the lonely Traveller in Walter de la Mare’s poem:

Isaiah 53:3
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

At any rate, I think the poem is a beautiful call to true faith, to keeping one’s word, even when all seems lost, and it speaks to my heart.

So I’ve included it here for you to read too.