Did you know- at one point in time- you (or your grandparents, or their grandparents, or somewhere down the line) were part of an unreached people group?
Now, I have no idea who actually reads this blog. I don’t know my demographic of ages, genders, or cultural backgrounds. So.. I’m going to assume. I’m going to assume that you were born and raised, like me, in a God acknowledging, comfort expecting culture. AND, if you were lucky enough, you might have even been raised good old fashioned Mennonite. Now those of us who were raised Mennonite, or really, any long standing Christian denomination, may feel like we are part of a never ending culture. When I imagined the history of ‘my people’ they probably dressed like pilgrims and came to the US in search of religious freedom as a result of the ‘Anabaptist movement.’ Before that they were probably part of the Roman Catholic church.. and before that.. maybe one of the original 12 disciples? Yes, I’m naive. But I thought that my ancestors must have always been part of the ‘right’ form of Christianity. The popular form if you may.
This weekend is missions focus weekend here at FJMC (Followers of Jesus Mennonite Church- where I now attend- you know, because I moved to NYC 2 weeks ago… I hope you’re keeping up with my ramblings). Now, I don’t know the name of our speaker, and I’m only able to attend 1/2 of the talks. BUT, tonight he told the story of how his ancestors came to know Christ. And since his grandparent’s were Swartzentrubers (as was my grandmother) and this took place in Switzerland I am kinda assuming that perhaps my family came from this same story as well. And if not: 1. I will probably never know and 2. there is still a good point to this true story.
And the story goes:
There once was a Celtic missionary and his friends who met up with a group of Barbarians in Switzerland (that’s us) with the intent of relaying to us the saving knowledge of Christ. Wellll… we wanted nothing to do with it. After all, we already had some great gods. Take Thor for example. We knew he was mighty and powerful- he even had a special tree just a few miles from our village that he protected, and if anyone so much as touched it, they would DIE! Because he would zap them with lightning, of course.
When this information was relayed to said missionary (of whose name I have no recollection), the missionary said, “so.. what if I cut it down?”
We said, “we’d like to see you try!”
and so.. he did. He and his friends (together, because it was a big tree) cut down our symbol of divine power. And suddenly we were interested in said Celtic missionary’s Christ after all.
It was just the beginning. And now here we all sit in our comfortable little churches in the wild-wood and talk about missionaries, about how we WISH we were braver so we could be missionaries right where we are now, but how we were too intimidated to mention God to a co-worker today. We console ourselves by telling small stories about how we had a chance to ‘bless’ someone, or say “I’m a Christian;” a compromise between denying God (which is THE WORST) and preaching a sermon (which seems…. a little overboard.) So yes, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the mystery of salvation, and even more so that it somehow makes sense. Logically people, a man who dies and comes back to life shouldn’t have this much affect on my life. But the fact is, He does. It does. Every. Single. Day.
So what if we were as brave as that Celtic missionary? Look at the impact that group of individuals had on our lives. Each and every one of us who can connect our family heritage to that group of people in Switzerland (now, if you’re part of a long-time culture of Mennonites, I feel like you probably feel a connection here) has that missionary to thank.
Just think about it. Even if you aren’t connected to this missionary story, you do have a story. (side note: I am aware that not everyone in the world, and not everyone who reads this, is a follower of Christ. But I’m going to be honest here and say, I hope you are. For you’re sake, not mine. If you don’t know what I mean by that, please ask.) Now back to my previous rant: Basically, what I’m saying here is: IF you are seeking Christ you will be compelled to share Him with others, so please act on that compulsion! I’m glad Mr. Celtic Missionary did and I know others will be glad if you do too!
Be brave enough to cut right at the lies others believe. How else will they be able to see the Truth?