Dying to be a Christian?

“May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.”  These words were shouted in chorus from the railing of a ship leaving Copenhagen on October 8, 1732.  John Dober and David Nitschman, members of the Moravian Brotherhood, had just sold themselves into slavery in order to reach the slaves of the West Indies for Christ and their cries rose to the Father as they sailed away.

The concept of the walking dead is relatively young (less than 150 years) and has gained resurgence in popularity in modern day books and movies.  But I suggest that on some level the church is intended to fill a vital role as the real “Zombie Apocalypse”.  In Luke 9:23 when Jesus invites us to “take up our cross daily and follow Him”, what do you think He was meaning?  If I look at my life, and frankly the lives of most Christians, I get the distinct feeling we haven’t taken Him at face value.  We have massaged, revised and padded those challenging words to be comfortable for us to quote and embrace as some metaphor suggesting a deep devotion to Christ.  But that is not what He said.  It would be nice if it was simply some poetic call of symbolism making us feel all warm inside.  But this call by Jesus is repeated in numerous places through the Gospels indicating losing our lives is the only way to really gain life.

A “fringe” mission of Assembly of God church has this statement on the web site called “Live Dead”.  , “Live Dead is a re-dedication to pioneering whatever the cost.  Live Dead realizes that the places today where the church does not exist are harsh, fierce, lonely and demanding, yet we still must go there. Living dead is a call to joy, a call to life, a call to hope.  Living dead means listening to the Spirit calling us to ‘take up our cross for the sake of those who don’t know what the cross is or what it stands for.’  Living Dead means listening to the example of those who have gone before us, men and women like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “when God calls a man, he bids him come and die.”  Living Dead means listening to the cry of those in spiritual death. They call to us, “We will live, if you will die.”

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had to give up that much to call myself a Christian.  Sure I’ve made “sacrifices” here and there.  But few of those sacrifices really put my life on the line for the sake of Christ.  I am re-evaluating my daily cross.  It took me a little while as I started to do this.  But I finally found my cross, right there, hanging safely on the wall in my “living” room – instead of me hanging on it.


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