Friday, February 26, 2016

Why persecution reminds me of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother)

The other night I heard someone I respect very much say "The end is coming. Change has happened so fast, Jesus ought to be coming back soon."

Without putting down at all what this dear person said, I have to respectfully offer my skepticism that Jesus is going to come back just because the West (by that I mean Westernised countries) is not only entering into becoming Post Christian but very much Anti Christian. This doesn't mean Im not sad that people aren't just devaluing biblical morals but they're twisting and changing the God who made those morals into either something He's not or nothing at all. Technically speaking, the West has been "Christianised" since the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to become a Christian. But has the West truly been Christian? By that I mean has society as a whole truly as a majority genuinely loved and feared the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? Or have we just had the facade of being sort of Christian and now that its no longer financially or socially worth being a Christian is the true Christianity finally getting a chance to show its face? Is this "decline" in professing Christians really a decline or just people finally being honest for the first time ever? 

In returning to that previous statement that my friend makes I feel the need to ask the question -
If persecution of Christians is what is going to bring back Jesus why hasn't he come back a million times already?

- In the early church only 50 years or so after that wee utopian period of everybody sharing all their stuff and living together in Jerusalem and speaking all kinds of crazy tongues and languages and having that first experience of the Holy Spirit (you know what Im talking about, cos your Pastor loves to nostalgically preach on this every so often as if he was there). Do you know what happened not long after? They got themselves a crazy Emperor by the name of Nero who not only blamed that gigantic fire in Rome (that he likely started) on the Christians. Then he rounded up men, women and children who refused to worship him to be murdered or torn about by wild animals in the Colosseum AND to keep his drunk parties well lit, he covered these Christians in pit and tar and crucified them over his parties then set them on fire. Why didn't Jesus come back then?

- What about that time when the so called established 'church' of the time sent its most devout followers to capture and burn at the stake those Christians who upon reading the bible for the first time in their lives in their own language and discovered the true God who said you didn't have to pay money to get your salvation or cross yourself so many times for him to love you, or pray to this person or that person (and the only person you needed to pray to was God).

- What about that time when Britain called itself 'Christian' while convincing themselves that those people in that continent over there weren't really human but half animal and that it was ok to ignore that part in the bible about not kidnapping humans for money and taking out of context the biblical stance of what a bond servant actually was? And there appeared to be only one true Christian at that time (last name Wilberforce) who fought to end that horrid despicable practice. Why didn't Jesus come back then?

- What about the millions of Chinese Christians being horribly persecuted and driven underground. Have we stopped to think that China has never had a "Christian government" nay not even a wee bit of Christian in their roots yet they likely have more Christians than all of the West combined? Persecution has never stopped for them. Why hasn't Jesus come then or now because of their suffering

- What about our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East being BEHEADED for loving and confessing Christ as their Lord. What about them?!

Maybe I'm sound a bit like a broken record here but Im trying to respectfully make a point. I know we're being persecuted as Christians in the West. I know its going to get worse. But I feel like, to the rest of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world we're looking like weak little cry babies because we're looking at how its starting feel uncomfortable being a Christian. We're no longer accepted any more. People are hurting our feelings now and accusing us of not being nice and this hurts our feelings and we're acting like we've lost a limb when really this is more like a paper cut.

Now after this gigantic rant you may still be scratching your head and wondering, "what on earth does this have to do with the late Queen Mother?!"

To some people, one might yawn and think "Oh gee, another spoilt royal." Let me tell you something, this woman is probably one of the most bravest of women in the kind of position such as her's. She wasn't born into royalty, she married into it - quite hesitatingly too (she turned down the then Duke of York's proposals TWICE!!). But anyway, thats not why I admire this woman's legacy so. Most women I think, if they knew that they were to be bombed by an enemy of some kind they'd grab their kids and run for it (in her case, the runaway destination offered to her and her daughters was Canada). But she flat out refused to leave London during WW2.

“The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the King will not leave the country in any circumstances whatever," she said when asked if she would leave London during World War II. 

If you're not a history buff like I am you may not know that the East End of London was likely the most worst hit area by the Nazi Luftwaffe during the war (cos thats where all their shipyards and warehouses were). The East End was also where the poorest of the poor of all London lived. The squalor that the East End had was well known and had truly set in long before the bombs laid waste. This woman's compassionate heart, dedication and loyal stubbornness to her husband and her country and most of all her fellow countrymen (particularly in this neighborhood) is what made her one of the the most beloved Queen's of all time. When the East End was being regularly bombed, she repeatedly left her house (Buckingham) went down there with her husband and two kids in broad daylight at risk of her own life and that of her family in order so she could commiserate, comfort and encourage them. I don't think any royal before her EVER did this, especially not a Queen. Because of this England literally treated her like a living saint and thus were extremely protective and proud of her and her family. Instead of hiding and sheltering her daughter's from the war at hand, she instead encouraged them to directly serve - as a result our current Queen Elizabeth (as a young woman) trained and worked as a truck driver and mechanic (during a time when it was just not the thing for a princess to be doing, driving a car, fancy that!).

Then, it finally happened to the royal familyBuckingham Palace took nine direct hits from German bombers, the first raid involving a fairly narrow escape for the King and Queen as masonry and windows were destroyed close to them. Im sure this was legitimately terrifying to them as well. But the Queen's response is completely remarkable - 

 “I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”

This brings me to my point.
This is not a denigration to either side but sometimes I feel like as Westernized Christian's we've been too comfortable in our wealth and 'palaces' while our brothers and sisters, our fellow country men of the Kingdom we strive to enter have been taking bombs for years, some even hundreds of years. We're only just starting to get little hits. Lets not moan. Lets not sit on our hands and wait for Jesus to come back (only He knows when he's coming back). Lets not get obsessive and do nothing but speculate about end times and waste breath arguing about pre vs post millennium-ism and who's who of potential Anti Christ's. Lets pull a leaf out of this grand lady's hat and roll up our sleeves and comfort one another, suffer together gladly, think outside of ourselves and our own little world. Lets serve. When Jesus comes back I want him to find me busy working and loving for his Kingdom using the talents He gave me instead of sticking them in the ground and not doing anything. Now that we're finally being persecuted, I too feel weirdly relieved and think, maybe one day I too can look my brothers and sisters in the face and instead of pitying them I can finally share with them the cup of Christ.


I admire the late Queen Mother so much I thought Id add a few more of her quotes and picture of her playing pool:

 “Cowards falter, but danger is often overcome by those who nobly dare.”

"Nobody is boring. If you find someone or something a bore, the fault lies in you."

 "You should live your life, as if tomorrow you’ll be run over by a big red bus."

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