Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)
TITLE: The Banner
By Lynda Schultz
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Incredulity. That was the tone of the sociology professor’s voice as he sat before the microphone at the television station. He had come, at the talk show host’s invitation, to discuss the political turmoil in the country, the polarization of the people, the deep hurts and divisions caused by a government run amuck—or not, depending on who you talked to.
“There are more people in this march than we have seen in all of the marches against the government and its policies over the last months.”
He didn’t say it, but hearing between the lines was easy. The professor couldn’t understand why these people weren’t marching in protest against the regime. Did they come from another planet? Were they totally clueless about the real world, the important issues, the desperate need?
What he didn’t realize was that this march “defending” Jesus symbolized the only reality preventing the country from descending into anarchy. The professor thought the marchers were clueless—but he had mistaken the real carrier of that disease. HIS spots, the blind ones, were showing.
For one day out of the year, thousands of people had come together to do something that was not political. For one day, the banners were not red, green, yellow, or black, in representation of some political party, some particular viewpoint; a flag to be thrust in the face of someone else’s viewpoint. For one day, the banners exalted Christ over man.
For one day, the shouting didn’t smell of sulfur, words from the pit meant to abuse, insult, ridicule, and intimidate. On this day, the shouting rose in waves of praise. Brothers and sisters were bent on focusing on the eternal at the expense of the temporal.
Among the crowd were government supporters, convinced that their way would provide equality and justice for all. There were others present who feared the cost that “equality” would exact from them, and their children. Whatever they thought, whichever way they were bent politically, they now marched, side by side, in the name of Jesus.
There was no political talk, no discussion, no argument; not a word about governments or kings, not even a word about denominations, theology or worship styles. That Jesus was Lord leveled the ground under their feet. They agreed. They walked together in harmony. Even the few party crashers, trying to wave the political flag, could not weaken their resolve to march in peace for Christ.
The professor’s comment was only made in passing. It was a pity that the interviewer didn’t grab hold of the remark and pursue it as newsworthy. The march for Jesus was drowned out in the sea of “important” issues.
Like the sociologist, others cried for resolution to the nation’s troubles. Like so many others, he had driven right past the solution; he on his way to the television station, and the others anyplace a long weekend would take them. He had been frustrated and delayed in his journey across the city by the very answer to the questions he urged the viewers to seek in confrontation.
While he sputtered and argued, demanded and cajoled, thousands of believers on both sides of the political fence, and many of the undecided who were sitting on that fence, sang songs in praise to God.
Where political divisions would have normally kept them apart, separated by walls of shields, batons, and riot police, Christians from all over the city, rich and poor, walked literally shoulder to shoulder in close companionship.
The next dawn would bring them back to reality. The issues would still be there, the tensions palpable. As the crisis within the country deepened, would the two bands meet again across the no-man’s land created by generations of governments who worked for themselves rather than for the people? Would angry words be exchanged on some other occasion as tempers were heated on the altars of someone else’s agenda?
Or would these believers who had marched together for Jesus, remember the ties of love and unity which bound them and, in remembering the common ground of the cross, once more greet their brothers with the same love they had demonstrated to the world today? Would they pray together for government that would honour the God they held in common? Would they once more put politics aside and march again in Jesus’ name under the banner of the cross? Would they?
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