Surrender can have a very negative connotation to it. In fact before I decided to write an entry on this subject I only ever intended the meaning to throw up the white flag and flee. Then I came across a quote by the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth. Booth says, "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender." Booth was a devout Christian who spent his time and effort travelling and preaching through post-Enlightenment England. His members grew and their evangelistic devotion found them beaten, bruised and in some instances killed. Booth journeyed over 5 million miles and preached over 60,000 sermons in his 83 years. The man was tough. But the Salvation Army earned its name for the aggressive manner in which they preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Booth, ever the zealot always believed soul-winning to be his ministry's greatest mission. That soul-winning for his organization, by contrast means surrender to a life lived for Christ. So is this surrender really servitude?
On the last day of the Civil War in Appomattox Court House, an exhausted Robert E. Lee, filled with a mixture of sadness and grief rode his horse to meet with General Grant to give up his saber in defeat. Lee's hopes lay in leniency and food for his starving army. Grant, being miles away sent a courier to deliver a letter noting the time of surrender, signed, ''Very respectfully, your obedient servant, U S Grant..." During their meeting, the terms of surrender were short. Lee did not have to give up his saber, and all his men had to do, was lay down their arms and return home. The last term was for the officers from both sides, many being long lost friends and family to meet and share stories of posterity. It was the first step in renewing old friendships and repairing a nation at war for the last five years.
Grant the victor reveals his intention of servitude to a man who once lambasted him in Mexico for looking "un-soldierly". Lee, back straight, rode his horse to and from the meeting with the rigidness and discipline a great warrior possesses. His discipline is unmatched. Even in surrender, there is pride. What these men demonstrate is the brick and mortar of relationships. The surrender er and the servant. They are a mutual dance in maintaining harmony. George Washington did this by leaving after his 2ND term of the Presidency. Puyi was the Last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty who relinquished power and went on to live the life of a simple Chines gardener.
Christ shows this as he washed his disciples feet at the last supper. He would in a few hours give himself to the Romans in surrender. That surrender pales in comparison to the one he makes to his Father. Christ knew full well what tasks lay ahead and the dismal cruelty that he'd be subjected to. He knew that the terms of surrender meant the salvation of mankind. Only through that surrender was his sacrifice sealed and our sins payed for in full. I feel this gets to the marrow of Booth's quote. What we give away, and how we give it away will determine how people will remember us... and will cement our legacy. Maybe their will be a white flag over my headstone. One can only hope.