PASTOR'S PERSPECTIVE: CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY
His name was Lech Walesa, the son of a carpenter, he had received only primary and vocational education and in 1967 began work as an electrician at the huge Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. He witnessed the 1970 food riots in Gdansk in which police killed a number of demonstrators. When new protests against Poland's communist government erupted in 1976, Walesa emerged as an anti-government union activist and lost his job as a result. On Aug. 14, 1980, during protests at the Lenin shipyards, caused by an increase in food prices, Walesa climbed over the shipyard fence and joined the workers inside, who elected him head of a strike committee to negotiate with management. Three days later the strikers' demands were conceded, but when strikers in other Gdansk enterprises asked Walesa to continue his strike out of solidarity, he immediately agreed. Walesa took charge of an Interfactory Strike Committee that united the enterprises of the Gdansk-Sopot-Gdynia area. This committee issued a set of bold political demands, including the right to strike and form free trade unions, and it proclaimed a general strike. Fearing a national revolt, the communist authorities yielded to the workers' principal demands, and on August 31 Walesa and Mieczyslaw Jagielski, Poland's first deputy premier, signed an agreement conceding to the workers the right to organize freely. When some 10 million Polish workers and farmers joined semi-autonomous unions in response to this momentous agreement, the Interfactory Strike Committee was transformed into a national federation of unions under the name Solidarity. He had proven that strength in numbers can overcome great odds and end in victory. That courage also led to his election as Poland's president!
Recently in Iraq, the newly formed terrorist group ISIS has begun to terrorize Christians and other religious minorities. They are threatening them to choose to convert to Islam; pay a tax, or die! As many Christians have attempted to flee, leaving most of their belongings behind, they are stopped at Checkpoints and robbed of the rest of their possessions-most fortunate to escape with their lives. ISIS has been going throughout cities in Northern Iraq and marking Christian houses with the Arabic letter nun-which looks like a tilted C with a dot in it. It is the letter N. That letter is labeling the residents of the house a followers of Jesus the Nazarene, and marking them for persecution and death! The Arabic letter "n" (inside red circle), signifying "Nasarah" (Christian), on a Christian home in Mosul. Protests highlighting the plight of Iraqi Christians are being held in many parts of the world, thanks at least partly to the #WeAreN campaign that has drawn attention to the unprecedented persecution by highlighting Arabic letter "N," which the ISIS militants placed on the homes of Christians in Mosul.
I heard Tony Evans preaching recently on Satanic Spiritual Warfare. He quoted Jesus in Matthew 12 talking about how absurd it was for the Pharisees to accuse Him of casting out demons in the power of Beelzebub. He said that Satan would never be a "house divided against itself" for such a house could never stand. Evans said, "when it comes to the demonic realm there is no half-hearted commitment. There is no partial obedience. There is no fussing and fighting. Demons are committed and totally obedient to their leader in his fight against the work of God". Then he went on to say that the only way the Church today will ever begin to walk in victory in spiritual warfare is for us to model that same kind of unity and obedience. That was a message that I had never heard preached, and one that we sorely need to hear today. Total commitment. Total obedience. Undivided unity among the people of God is the path to victory.
Luther once said, (though the quote is only attributed to him and not in his verifyable writings), "If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God, except precisely the little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, no matter however boldly I may be professing Christianity! Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is to be proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point!" That is classic pure Luther at his best!
During the reign of Adolph Hitler on July 1, 1935 Martin Niemoller, the Lutheran pastor who along with Deitrich Bonhoffer, and Karl Barth, opposed Hitler, was arrested by the Gestappo in the middle of the night, and imprisoned. The next morning, the Lutheran Chaplain, making rounds at the prison, and startled to come across Martin asked him, "Martin what are you doing in here? What did you do?" To which Niemoller responded, "Brother, considering the things that are happening in our Country, the question is-what are you doing out there, and not in here?" That is the question today for us-are you standing with your brothers in total commitment to the Savior? Total obedience? Total Christian solidarity? That the call to arms today! That is one point at which we must not flinch! Remember-"where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is to be proved!"