One of the significant blessings of working in a ministry like CLC, you can be ‘au courant’ (abreast) of the new releases (books, music, DVD’s, etc) either through the sales representatives, personal research or increasingly from you, our dear clients.
A few months ago, a friend placed an order for the new CD from an artist that I had heard about, but never listened to, one Audrey Assad. She had a hymns project called ‘Inheritance’ and as it looked interesting, a copy was purchased and put on the store play list Almost immediately it became one of my favorites. There was one song in particular that caught my interest, ‘Even unto Death’. With the unusual usage of English in the title, I assumed that it was a hymn that came from the middle ages, and was talking about Christian martyrs. Wrong on the first count, right on the second.
It was Audrey herself who had written the song and so it was not a hymn from the past. Indeed, it was about Christian martyrs, but not from ancient times. In fact, she had happened across a video showing several Syrian Christians who were about to be beheaded by ISIS. As her father had fled from Syria in the seventies, Audrey had a special interest in her history. She was astonished by the calmness of spirit in spite of their pending execution and decided to write a song, envisioning their thoughts. It was also a type of prayer for others like them and as well for herself, that she might have even a shred of their courage if faced with such a situation. As you listen to it and absorb the lyrics, you will be touched by this poem of love and thanks to our beautiful Saviour.
It is one of those rare songs that brings on tears almost every time I listen to it. In trying to analyze the ‘why’, I too was amazed at the courage of these Christians in the face of death and the extreme doubt in my ability to do the same. Even though it is very unlikely that we here in Canada will experience such a situation, I sometimes wonder what my reaction would be. Many say that we will have to trust in the grace of the Lord at that particular moment and that is most certainly true. But I have to think that there are things that we can do on a regular basis that will help to prepare us, should such a moment ever come.
Have you ever wondered if you saw someone drowning in the St. Lawrence, would you call 9-1-1 or would you jump in and do what you could to save them. Or if you were on the bus and saw a few bullies picking on a Muslim lady. Or if you saw a parent demeaning a 5 year old for acting as a child. Or a beggar looking for some money. Will we act or cross over to the other side of the street in order to remain safe? For sure these are haunting questions for me – the one who is often afraid and wants to cling to his comfortable life, as flawed as it is. I want to be able to say that I will sacrifice myself for others, but when I look at my daily decisions, there is a big question mark. A regular prayer is that I will honor the Lord who gave up his life so that I might gain mine – not to keep it, but in turn to give it away.