Let me introduce you to four, rather contemporary, courageous people. You most likely know of them already, nevertheless…
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a leader of the Confessing Church that refused to surrender it’s faith to Nazi Germany. As it is told in the introduction to Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together, on April 9, 1945, just a few days before Flossenburg Concentration Camp was liberated Bonhoeffer was hanged to death. The day before, as the guards came to get him, Bonhoeffer said, “This is the end. But for me, it is just the beginning of life.”
- Jim Elliot was one of five Christian missionaries killed while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people of Ecuador. He regarded following Jesus in the mission of God to be of more importance than his own life. This was evident from a journal entry which read, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
- Martin Luther King Jr. peacefully called for justice at a time when the darkness of racial discrimination was still an accepted way of life in America. As he did so, he leaned into proleptic dream shaped by his faith and delivered his famous I Have A Dream. He concluded this speech with the words from an African-American Spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
- Mother Teresa gave her final interview with Time Magazine in which she reflected on her ministry among the poor of Calcutta, India. At one point in the interview, she described the poor as God’s greatest gift to her. And when asked how the poor were a gift to her, she responded, “I have an opportunity to be with Jesus 24 hours a day.”
All four of these believers had the eyes and ears to see and hear what many others cannot. They had the courage to participate in a story that has often been criticized as unbelievable.
I guess it really matters what we believe.
What do we believe?