Sunday, November 9, 2003

November 9, 2003

11:27 AM I’m typing this note from my office at church near the end of the third worship service. This is a rare “day off” for me since Dr. Scott Hafemann is speaking on “Led Unto Death” in all of our worship services as part of World Focus Weekend. Since I’m not preaching today, I’ve had lots of extra time to chat with people—a rare luxury. Everything so far this weekend has exceeded my expectations. Last night’s video—Behind the Sun—presented a fictional story based on true accounts of Christians suffering persecution. As one who has sat through many forgettable Christian movies, I would say that “Behind the Sun” is top-notch both in terms of the storyline and of the technical side of things. It left me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to the young man at the heart of the story, which could have taken place in any Middle Eastern country. During the worship services this morning, we’ve been showing a short video from Voice of the Martyrs called “Imagine,” a graphic and powerful series of testimonies from men and women who have suffered greatly for their faith. Then Ben Dodgson sang “Imagine” just before the message. Dr. Hafemann made a point I had never heard before—that the “triumphal procession” of 2 Corinthins 2:14 does not picture us as the conquerors but us as the prisoners being led captive unto death. During victory parades in ancient Rome, the captive armies were marched through the streets, then they were slaughtered and their blood was offered up in tribute to the Roman gods. Paul says that believers are like that in the world today—and we should give thanks because “when they see us, they smell Christ.” It is a word of salvation to some, a message of judgment to others. God allows his children to be put to death before the world so that the message of Christ might be spread everywhere. Extremely powerful truth being preached here today by Dr. Hafemann. We wrap up the weekend at 6 PM with a panel discussion on persecution around the world and the writing of postcards to imprisoned Christians. This sort of emphasis is good for a prosperous, relatively well-off congregation like Calvary. Our situation may be typical in America, but it is not typical in most parts of the world, and it’s good that we should remember our brothers and sisters who suffer. Over 450 believers will die for their Christian faith today. Me? I get to go home in a while, eat a fine meal, and watch the Bears play the Lions on TV. Compared to what happens elsewhere, I don’t have a problem in the world worth talking about.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?