Call of Duty
Team Death Match, Gun Game, Zombies… What will it be this time as you settle into to your COD session potentially lasting hours? The competition, the quick action and surprise keeps you on your toes as you aim to get the best kill to death ratio possible…
Now to those of you who play COD regularly or have played it, that sort of terminology probably sounds quite normal. But to others, perhaps it could sound quite odd. Whilst COD is exhilarating and fun, it all seems to stem from how many people you can kill, be it shooting, blowing up, or stabbing. When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound all that nice. At least those sorts of things that take place in real life would normally shock us and stir concern within our minds and hearts. But when it comes to COD we don’t really think twice.
But the inspiration for the design and production of the game must have come from somewhere? So what kind of warfare is this really this based on?
My first real exposure to international terrorism stems back to 2001 when the twin towers collapsed. After that followed the start of the war in Iraq when George Bush and Tony Blair agreed that our troops should be sent in on the basis of ‘threats of potential nuclear weapons’. From then on up until the attacks of ISIS- the Islamic State, I have been more and more aware of the extremely harsh environment of which people must deal with in the Middle East and other parts of the world regarding terrorist threats and attacks.
Now, I am not claiming that COD was created directly to be an anti-terrorism game, but to me it clearly resembles that of many of the current affairs we see on the news especially that of the situation on the Middle East and parts of Europe.
But I want to look further into it than that. The point of this article is not that you should stop playing video games because it's a waste of time, or because they can be violent. Nor am I saying that you should be doing more Holy things like reading the bible and going to church. My point is that, in regards to the warfare that COD resembles, it bears a strong link to the living reality our Christian brothers and sisters, in places such as the Middle East, who not only have become caught up in its violence, but are currently being persecuted in the most horrendous ways.
But how often do we think about the persecuted world of Christians? It seems so far from the world we live in. We go to church, we enjoy our fellowship and social activities etc. We even have the freedom to organize evangelistic events, to tell others the good news of Jesus Christ.
In countries in the Middle East, Christians have been beheaded simply for having a Christian belief and faith. Some are disowned by their families, and must flee the terror of the own country, putting them at great risk of being executed.
Perhaps we put things in our intercessions every now and again at Church, but does it really hit home for us? Often it doesn’t really bother our day-to-day thoughts and activity at all.
There are plenty of verses in scripture, which talk about persecution as something to be expected. Jesus tells us in John 15 not to be surprised if the world hates us. We are also told that it is a blessing to be persecuted, and even that we should pray for the enemy who persecutes. Challenging and important stuff, but doesn’t necessarily mean a lot to us deep down in our relatively stress free Christian life.
I want to point us to some poignant scripture, thinking about persecuted Christians all over the world.
1 Corinthians 12 verses 12-31 looks at the unity and diversity of the body of Christ and I would advise reading it in its entirety.
For those of you who have been baptised you will be familiar with such phrases as ‘being baptised into the body Christ’ or becoming part of ‘God’s Family’ along with other members of the Church, creating a ‘Church family’.
This is why we call our fellow believers brothers and sisters, because ultimately they are our family, and we are all one in Christ, adopted into God’s family. We are all unique and we all play a particular part in this body of people, the Church. But all too often, we forget just how big this body really is!
We are not just talking about the local parish church, or even our big lively charismatic church in town. We are talking about every single Christian in the world being our brother or sister in Christ - our true spiritual family, the global Church. I want to focus specifically on verse 26 of this passage, which says:
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it." (1 Corinthians 12 v26)
These scriptures speak truth about our relationship with those Christians whom we do not know, all over the world and those who are suffering torture and death for their faith. We are all connected as the Body of Christ. In God’s eyes through the work of Jesus Christ, we are just as much a brother or sister of people in our Church as we are with Christians all around the world. If one part of this huge family is hurt, we are also hurt because, simply, they are OUR family. Equally we praise God and rejoice when we see people come to Christ, joining the body, our Christian family and when we see God do amazing things through us.
And God is doing some amazing things all over the world. People everywhere, even where other religions are the cultural norm, are becoming Christians through accepting the Good News of Jesus Christ. But in these harsh environments, for example where ISIS has control, Christians are suffering in ways we cannot imagine. If they are really our true brothers and sisters, how can it simply pass us by? We need to rethink what the body of Christ means to us. If one hurts, we all hurt. I would really encourage you to follow this link and look at some of the extraordinary stories of persecuted Christians all over the world. Opendoors - Persecuted Profiles
COD stands for call of duty, but a duty to what? Perhaps a call of prayer would be fitting. No, in fact we have a Call of Duty to Pray. Not just to pray for some random people who are having a hard time, but for our family who God our father loves so dearly, and of whose suffering He pains to see. So when you next play COD, think about its context, about your brothers and sisters who suffer as a result of the warfare, which is happening in real life. Hurt with them, and be praying for them. After all, they are our family.