Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Worst of Times...or the Best?

By Belinda

I was on my way to a meeting and rather late having gone to the wrong location to begin with, when the traffic slowed to a standstill. Up ahead I could see the flashing lights of a police car at the scene of an accident.

Slowly, from far down the line, cars pulled out and turned around, while some waited hopefully to be able to continue on their way. I decided to join those pulling out and find another route. I didn't have time to wait indefinitely.

I followed a car down the next rural route going west, and then turned north, the direction I needed to go in. Across the fields I could see the line up we had been in moments before, standing as still as ever.

The road I was on, ran on a curve though, and a few minutes later, I was practically on the scene of the accident, from a different angle. Clusters of people from the neighbourhood had gathered to watch as firefighters and emergency personnel worked and a news reporter was on the scene with his camera. Obviously the accident had happened recently and people were still trapped in the wreckage of a huge tractor trailer and a dump truck.

I prayed for those involved. In a brutal assault of metal on flesh, metal always wins.

The thought of a cruel assault on flesh, reminded me of the presentation on Mennonite history that I had gone through with Chris, one of our friends from England, in St. Jacobs, a couple of days ago. My friend Eileen and her daughter Nel, went on ahead, but Chris and I with a common love of history, paid a donation to learn, through video, photographs and texts, of the history of the Mennonite movement.

The brutal persecution they endured in Russia and Europe was horrendous, but I commented to Chris on the way out, that it was as bad in England, where both Protestants and Catholics were merciless in persecuting one another to the death through torture and burning at the stake.

Why? Because of different convictions of right and wrong! Different ideas were deemed dangerous and not to be tolerated.

I found myself so grateful to be living today. I believe because I have a deep and rock solid faith built on a foundation of both reason and personal experience of God.

Some may look back to the more recent past and think that the world of faith was was better then, when whole countries and populations identified themselves as believers, but how much of that faith was real and personal and how much was conformity out of fear?

I realize that Christians are still being martyred and tortured for their faith in other countries where there is no freedom of religion. We must never take our freedom for granted or cease to be grateful for it.

In my teens my faith took on a more solid formation because I believed of my own volition. I was grateful that I came from a family that, although they did not go to church, valued debate and discussion and thinking through things. I knew even then that making a personal and free decision for faith was very important.

Today we have freedom to think. Maybe one day we will have to die too, for that freedom. I would argue that in this country, although there is much to oppose it; right now, we live in the best of times for coming to faith.

What do you think?

3 comments:

Marilyn Yocum said...

It is indeed sobering to think of the dangers some have faced and still do in making a proclamation of faith and we need to pause with gratitude for the times and places we now live, most of us. The freedom to think, to believe.

For some reason, Acts 13:35 popped to mind as I read this, where David is credited with having served the purposes of God in his generation. The same call is on us, I think. We are not asked to do what many have been asked to do. We are privileged in many ways you have said. I hope I do not become lazy in the luxury of it (I know I do.). There is still the daily dying to self, tuning into God's voice and following....and we really have no idea how history will record these times (or the importance in God's records).

You are right. Much to be grateful for.

Marilyn Yocum said...

It is indeed sobering to think of the dangers some have faced and still do in making a proclamation of faith and we need to pause with gratitude for the times and places we now live, most of us. The freedom to think, to believe.

For some reason, Acts 13:35 popped to mind as I read this, where David is credited with having served the purposes of God in his generation. The same call is on us, I think. We are not asked to do what many have been asked to do. We are privileged in many ways you have said. I hope I do not become lazy in the luxury of it (I know I do.). There is still the daily dying to self, tuning into God's voice and following....and we really have no idea how history will record these times (or the importance in God's records).

You are right. Much to be grateful for.

Belinda said...

Marilyn thank you for your thoughts. I think I jumbled mine and am glad that some of it got across at least.