In his book How Do You Kill 11 Million People, Andy Andrews describes an eye witness report from an elderly Christian who attended a church alongside a set of railroad tracks in Germany in the early 1940’s. After several weeks of hearing a particular train leave out on Sunday morning for what they came to understand were the death camps, they began singing hymns. But they were not singing hymns for the reason you might normally think, but rather, because they could hear the cries of the Jews from inside those cattle cars, they would sing their hymns more loudly in order to not be able to hear the pleas for help from those trapped and headed off to die. While being interviewed on a nationally syndicated talk show about his book, the radio host, not particularly known as a Christian, made a scathing comment about Christians in America and their lack of seeming to take their faith seriously. He said “either they are asleep at the switch or they are simply singing too loudly.”
So here we are some 70 years later, just a couple of generations separated from the WWII genocide which cost so many their lives. And the church today seems more distracted than ever. Those in the world, and perhaps many in the church, are chugging along on tracks, not all that different from the train tracks in the story above. The cries that can be heard are a mix of anguish, revelry and loneliness. There are so many lost souls, so many deceived or indifferent spectators in church, chugging along to an inevitable end – a life without the fullness of Christ or death.
What has the call of Christ become for you? Is it a deep felt joy, understanding of the value of the cross and the call to serve and rescue the lost and in doing so derailing Satan’s plan? Or has it become some far away sound, much like a train whistle you might hear at night sounding so inspirational and soothing yet at a safe distance? Perhaps it has become all too easy to avert one’s eyes, disengage from the mission, enjoy fellowship and just sing hymns, really great and meaningful hymns. But the time has come for us to check ourselves and the motives of our hearts. Are we making the right decisions in response to the call of Christ on our lives or masking our individual and corporate responsibility by simply singing louder.
Excert from the book “Whose Side are you on Anyway” by Milton Odom