Wednesday, May 2, 2007

while i was complaining...

...three men in turkey were being martyred for their faith.

on april 27, i was sitting in front of my computer in agony over how to express just what element of educational pedagogy i was going to expound upon, masters-thesisly, and three men were having their heads drawn back and their throats slit open. they were emasculated and watched their parts destroyed before their eyes. their anuses were mutilated with knives. they had met for a secret prayer meeting, having invited 5 "new believers" who were actually radical non-believers, and they were martyred for their faith.

on april 27, i was complaining that my tea was not hot enough, or that my husband was not sensitive enough to an emotional meltdown, or that the temperature in the house was not perfect. on the other side of the world, three wives, children, families, a congregation, were shocked with the murder of three of their own. innocent men. men meeting to pray.

the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

now, some may say, "Sam, you can't beat yourself up over this-- you aren't there! you just need to live the best life you can here! just because that happened over there you don't need to feel guilty!" but it's not exactly guilt that i feel. it's grief mixed with something else. here's what the Bible says, in the book that we moderates like to avoid:

"And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony they maintained..." Revelation 6:9

I say "we moderates". what i am feeling is convicted. i first became fascinated with my faith as a little girl whose parents were saved during the Jesus movement (early 70's). everybody thought Jesus was coming back right away. i used to wake in the night when the train hurtled through old town conyers, convinced that it was the trumpet of the Lord. i would go peek to see if i could hear my parents breathing in the darkness in our tiny house. my reality as a child was that Jesus would return at any moment. i was that little girl in the recent documentary "Jesus Camp" who was weeping with her arms in the air, in such earnest. i am certain that my early love affair with Jesus and my willingness to believe everything the Bible said about the Holy Spirit laid the groundwork for a faith that has been tested and proven true. my God is real and i have been very, very nice about it.

i am trying to find the balance between what my heart sings and what others can hear. does this make sense? i have friends of many faiths and lifestyles-- some of our ideas line up with each other, while others of us are almost perfectly opposed, but we share love, and i am convinced that this is important. some of the most precious conversations i have been priviledged to be a part of have been held late into the night over coffee or in hotel rooms at retreats or over the phone after a crisis or in my living room or in the studio at agnes scott-- i have listened to my friends' hearts who are searching for meaning. i have heard hearts longing for the more of life. and so many times, i kept quiet because i didn't want to break the spell, or because i sensed in my heart that to listen was the heart of Christ right then, but sometimes...and i am ashamed to admit it... it was because i didn't want to lose favor.

oh, my heart-- how do we as believers do this? how do we love with the love of Christ without sounding patronizing? how do we love others the way He did without witholding Him from those who do not yet know Him? oh, my heart is so torn with this thing. how do i let Him so shine through me that my precious friends see Him, the source of relief for every heartache??? how did He do it? oh Jesus, what did you do?

he said that,"I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me." Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry, ad feed You, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see You a stranger, or invite you in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." Matthew 25:35-40

When you did it to the least of them, you did it to me.

i'm convicted because i have friends dying to know Him and my faith has been quiet. i do not love Him less, but i have been placed in an environment so foreign to my evangelistic upbringing and i do not know how to do the right thing sometimes. i know to LIVE what i know to be true, and i hear His Spirit moving me so many times, but i do not know what the kind of telling that HE did looks like. i do not want to be yet another hurtful, judgmental Christian in one of the precious lives i have the honor of touching.

and yet i know that He lives. and all of His tenets are true. and there are mysteries there that we do not yet even begin to understand. and we have made mistakes in many of our own personal translations of His teachings. and we don't even know which ones or to what extent we are wrong, but that's just it: we are often wrong, but HE never is. if we as believers could just follow the things we know to be true...

and on the other side of the world, three men gave their lives-- or their lives were snatched away from them-- because of what they knew to be true. in those final moments, your blood spilling to the floor, it's just you and Jesus.

you and Jesus.

nobody else. no lost or gained friendships that are fruitless because we are afraid to say what is true. no good feelings because you are popular or well respected. no sense of pride because you are respected by academic theologians who are often as daft and useless as they are bloated with knowledge.

me and Jesus.

the blood of the martyrs is crying out to me.

(revisiting old blogs from myspace. may 2)

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