During his sermon on Sunday, Mike reminded his listeners how discouraging it can be when we feel like a shrinking minority as Christians. If Islam really is going to outgrow Christianity by 2070 does that mean that maybe, we have something wrong? However, the gospel of John reminds us that rejection was experienced by Jesus and prophesied by Isaiah, yet neither the prophet, nor Lord lost heart because they knew that God was laying a stage for the grand work of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
As I listened, I was reminded of the famous picture above. In June 1936, the Nazi party was at its zenith point. A huge group of workers were attending the launch of a new navy training ship, and as the crowds gave the Nazi salute, one man, back right hand corner, stood resolute, arms crossed. Despite the overwhelming popularity across Germany. Despite the pressure, both social and political, August Landmesser refused to salute a regime that persecuted Jews, including the woman he was engaged to marry.
This picture is a great example of how perspective plays an important role in how we view our surroundings. At the time it simply represented the means by which Landmesser could be identified and punished, but 80 years later, we look at this picture and we see a man willing to stand up against an oppressive regime; a man willing to stand up against an overwhelming swell of wrong thinking!
Throughout the last 2000 years, the Christian church has constantly found its teachings at odds with the popular opinions of the cultures around us. It’s very difficult to swim against the tide of popular opinion, but we need to remember that the perspective we bring to this is not “is this popular?”, or ” will people agree with me?”, but “does this reflect God’s good, pleasing and perfect will?”.
We know that the tide of popular opinion is one that ebbs and flows. Many hot-button topics that seem so important today will be forgotten tomorrow, but God’s Kingdom and God’s will is one that will never change. While we might sometimes feel like that lone man, crossing their arms in the midst of a cheering crowd, we know that one day, maybe in 80 years, maybe when God calls us into his kingdom, standing up for our Christian faith will be vindicated!
- Tim Goldsmith, Miranda North Focus Pastor