St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Friday, June 22, 2018
Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors.
 
 
From the Associate Pastor’s Desk

 

Sifting

         A  "house church" in a city of the USSR had managed to receive a single copy of the Gospel according to

Luke. This was the only written copy of the Scripture that many of these Christians had ever seen. They tore it into

 small sections and distributed them among this body of believers. Their plan was to memorize the portion they had

been given, then on the next Sunday they would meet and redistribute the scriptural sections to memorize more.

       On Sunday, these believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups or as singles throughout the day so as not to

arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. By dark they were all safely inside, windows closed and doors were locked.

They began by singing a hymn quietly but with deep emotion.

       Suddenly, the door was forced open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons. One shouted, "All right, everyone line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!"

      Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few moments, two more.

   “This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ," he ordered, "or stay and suffer the consequences."

     Another left. Finally, two more in embarrassed silence with their faces covered, slipped out into the night.

 No one else moved. Parents with small children trembling beside them, looked down reassuringly. They fully expected to be gunned down or at best, to be imprisoned.

     After a few more moments of complete silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood

against the wall and said, "Keep your hands up...but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters,

we, too, are Christians ! We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers."

     The other soldier interrupted, "But, instead we were converted ! We have learned by experience however, that

unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted."

     Stories like this from the underground church in Russia have a way of jolting us ! Immediately, this question comes to my mind: Would I be willing to die for my faith in Jesus Christ ? Talk about a commitment. Yet, it was exactly this kind of total giving that brought our modern church into being. Pioneers have gone before who were willing to give everything, including life to preserve and spread this gospel ! Can we do less ?

 

 

 

 In His Service,

     Terry