Saturday, August 9, 2014

In darkness God's truth shines most clear

I remember reading Corrie Ten Boom's book, "The Hiding Place."  I remember reading about when she and her sister Betsie were in the concentration camp Ravensbruck during the Holocaust when six million Jews were exterminated and another five million also were killed, and there were women all around her, of all Christian backgrounds, yet, in that dark place they could worship the Savior all of them knew.

"They were services like no others," she writes, "these times in Barracks 28.  A single meeting might include a recital of the Magnificat in Latin by a group of Roman Catholics, a whispered hymn by some Lutherans, and a sotto-voce chant by Eastern Orthodox women.  With each moment the crowd around us would swell, packing the nearby platforms, hanging over edges, until the high structures groaned and swayed.
     "At last either Betsie or I would open the Bible.  Because only the Hollanders could understand the Dutch text we would translate aloud in German.  And then we would hear the life-giving words passed back along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, back into Dutch.  They were little previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the light bulb.  I would think of Haarlem, each substantial church set behind its wrought-iron fence and its barrier or doctrine.  And I would know again that in darkness God's truth shines most clear."

I can hardly look at the pictures of the refugees in the mid-east.  My heart aches for those forced out of their homes by terrorists, rockets, hatred and revenge.  The stories of execution and murder because one does not profess one religion over another is baffling to me.  Simply baffling.

Because they are Christians or whatever label that is hated, they die.

Yet here in the United States we live.  We go to our denominational churches, singing music in our denominational flavor, in our denominational orders of service and worship, yet we have no fear of anyone forcing us to give up our beliefs, practices, traditions and our homes or die.

Yet.

I wonder, if, or when, such a day may or may not come, will they look at us western Christians who call ourselves by such added names as Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterians, Orthodox, or Catholic, will they even care that we are of the Southern end, the Missouri side or the Reformed?  We will not die because of the name in front of our Christian name.  We will die because of Christ.

Doctrines matter and doctrines divide.  But only one doctrine, only one name is what is causing death in the mid-east and Africa and other parts of the world.

Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not the Pope.

Jesus.

He's the threat.

If you carry His name above all other names, you are the same threat.

I get the reasons for taking stands on certain doctrines of faith and practice.  I get it.  Each of us, led by the Holy Spirit moving us when we understand something with clarity and certainty is something I am well acquainted with.  I ginosko what it's like when God leads us to take a stand and not move.  We gotta do what God leads us to do.

But, and this is a big but,

Christians, all flavors of Christians, are being murdered or forced out of their homes and villages.  There is no checkpoint for denomination or doctrinal stance.  All types of Christians are being targeted.

So.....

If terrorists consider any flavor of Christian a Christian and equally deserving of death, than why do we western Christians not see other believers not of our flavor or doctrine with the same eyes?  The name of Jesus is the target.  If you claim the name of Jesus, you are the target, no matter what doctrines or stands you take.

Remember what I said, I GET the reasons for doctrinal divides, I really, really do BUT, will those divides really matter if or when the day of evil arrives again on our shores?

A Baptist doesn't get a Lutherans take on Communion or Baptism and draws the line.  A terrorist doesn't care.

A Lutheran sees the sola scripture, sola fide, sola gratis and draws the line.  A terrorist doesn't care.

You baptize babies and your non-denominational neighbor doesn't and both draw the line.  A terrorist doesn't care.

If collectively, in a terrorist's eyes Christians are seen as Christians no matter where they worship or what and how they practice, then why can't we see the same?  Is it really the doctrines that are dividing us or is it our own hollow hearts?  

Oh that God Almighty God would give His people this same spirit of oneness as Corrie and Betsie experienced, before darkness comes.  Let it not come after we've been banished from our homes with nowhere to go, but let it come among us now, sweeping not only into our Sunday mornings but also our Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings.  Let His Holy Spirit fill us each with a love for each other that knows no bounds, that is not hindered by doctrine or creed, but sees only the heart of the hurting.  The hearts Jesus knows, the hearts Jesus lavishes his grace on too.



With much love and
Peace,
Ronda

"And I would know again in darkness God's truth shines most clear."









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