Saturday, March 26, 2011
I am not sure what you think of Street Church minister Artur Pawlowski; you may think he is a crack pot (I heard that from a few people when I lived in Calgary) or a courageous servant of Christ, the point is this…the city was spending a fortune to stifle the Message of God, at least that is the way I see it. Sixty five thousand dollars to collect on a $100.00 fine…come on!
I admire Pastor Artur and his courage to present the Gospel at any cost, including fines and possible incarceration. This sounds like many from the past who stood tall and proclaimed despite the odds…how many of the disciples proudly and loudly proclaimed His Message with the threat of incarceration (and in those days it was not three square and a cot) or even death by some rather nasty methods of which crucifixion was the most vicious and cruel. Pastor Artur is not facing physical crucifixion but it does seem the city is trying to hang him.
When did we loose the right to freely proclaim God’s Message to the world? Actually the question should really be when did we give up the right to? Just after the horrible crucifixion of Christ, Peter, filled with the power and courage of the Holy Spirit, boldly stood up in front of thousands, including, I dare say, members of the Sanhedrin and proudly and boldly proclaimed the Good News. The twelve went out into the world where not only the Jewish ruling body watched carefully, but also those pagan kings, rulers, religious leaders watched with close scrutiny. They went into a land where people zealously held on to their particular religious views and would viciously react to anyone who preached an alternate message (see Paul in Damascus Acts 9). Did they stop preaching the Good News…no. Did they promote and empower others to go out into the world…yes! His Message and the power of the Holy Spirit are too much to contain. Had the Spirit not been strong and the voices of those in power suppressed the Message, where would we be today? Had John Wesley not questioned the norm and not gone out into the English countryside, what would the Christian landscape look like? John Wesley did not face physical persecution but he did face religious persecution.
The time is now…let us stand up and be heard not just in our church, but in our communities, spheres of influence and in our nation. I am not ready to pay a hundred dollar fine for what I feel is my God given right. To pay the fine is to admit that what is being done is wrong. To pay the fine is to say that the voice of the people of Damascus can drown out the real Message. The idol makers, priests of the Artemis Temple and the devout of Grecian mythology had much at stake. A God whose message is one of peace and love, of brotherhood and community, of worship to the one and only God and not to man made idols…a God who asks only that you embrace the Message of Christ instead of buying salvation by paying alms for sins.
Life is short…opportunities to share His love are finite while we are here. As followers of Christ, we have to ask what would Jesus do? He lived the life 24/7, He prayed daily, He healed the sick, comforted the hurting, shared lessons with all who would listen and, most importantly, was obedient to the Father. Go forth unto ALL nations proclaiming the Message of God loudly and proudly and if you have to, use words.