Aidlingen III, May 19th, 2013
The two brothers didn't look like they shared German heritage, but came up to the front of the stage after the event with their German youth group anyway. They spoke pretty good English, and challenged me to guess where they were from! When I guessed a more safe and general answer based on their accents, (the middle-east) they then shared where they were from: Syria.
It was obvious they had thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and they shared as much. Reconciliation they said was a foreign word in the world they started in - a world where retribution, vengeance, violence, and an "eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" rule and reign without hesitation. The result is over 70,000 dead Syrians and countless more refugees in the latest brutal civil war.
They made it pretty clear that they would never have had a chance to hear such a message in their homeland. But here in Germany, they had danced and sung with the music, and were surprised that more Germans didn't want to "dance with joy to the exciting music of salvation and reconciliation".
It made me wonder once again how much I totally take for granted. Obviously these two brothers don't take anything for granted any more, save the faithfulness of God. They were so struck and yet grateful that God loves them, has rescued them, and has given them an opportunity that they must now not squander.
Do we live our lives, careers, vacations, etc. with the same sense of awe and conviction? I can't answer for you who are reading this, but I certainly can answer for myself. We were all once aliens, strangers, hostile and virulent - a people without God and without hope in the world - but now - we have been brought near, made a new creation with a new purpose, given a new mandate in Christ (Ephesians 2:10-22).
Lord, help me to live my life with the same sense of gratitude that these brothers from Syria do - grateful for your rescue, grateful for your salvation, and very intentional about wanting to bring peace and reconciliation to those who are still abiding under the sword of vengeance and hatred. Lord have mercy.