Friday, April 14, 2006

Sacrifice

"In Russia, before the days of Communism, Christians greeted one another at Easter time with the words, 'Christ is risen,' and the person being addressed would respond, 'Christ has risen indeed!' As everyone knows, religion in Russia was forbidden during the years of Communism. To atheistic Communists there was no God and they replaced Christian Easter Sunrise Services with Sunrise Communist Rallies, to which all people of the community were requested to attend.

I read about one such meeting where, as the sunrise rally was drawing to a close, the Communist leader asked the large gathering of some ten thousand people if there was anything anybody wanted to say. A long silence followed. Nobody moved. Finally a teenage boy came forward. As he approached the podium, the leader warned the boy saying, 'You must tell only the truth,' meaning Communist 'truth.' 'If you don't, you will be shot.'

All eyes were fixed on this lad as he stood at the podium about to speak. He was flanked by soldiers, rifles pointed at his head. For several brief moments he remained silent. Then standing tall and taking a deep breath, he called into the microphone: 'Christ is risen!'

As the story goes, the explodingrifles shattered the silence of the early morning. Only one sound drowned out the crack of the rifles as the teenage boy collapsed to the floor in death. It was the resounding response of ten thousand voices shouting: 'Christ has risen indeed!'"

(by Rev. Don Collar, pastor of Bilberry Creek Baptist Church, Ottawa.)