THE DAY THE REVOLUTION BEGAN
Tom Wright is a prolific writer of scholarly books and papers–of thoughts that provoke worship, and of deep scriptural understanding. His academic works are published under NT Wright and his works for a general audience under Tom Wright. Last year I read The Day the Revolution Began and today Marti and I heard a great illustration of The Revolution.
It was shrove Tuesday and in England, that is known as pancake day. That is such a fun tradition of feasting on English pancakes before lent begins. One of our community members worked out that we could serve pancakes from a few of our houses and everyone could sign up and have “take-away pancakes”. It was great fun!
Marti had only one pancake griddle so we were serving slowly. Adaina, a trainee here for two years, was the last person in the queue at our house, so we chatted with her as she waited. She is from Bolivia and has an economics degree and will soon return to Bolivia to get her masters’ degree in economics. When she talks about accounting and book-keeping, her face lights up with a broad smile and she says, “I’m very good with numbers!” She loves them and I hope she returns to help us with financial management.
Marti and I asked her to tell us some of her story, so she explained: she is a third generation Christian. She was born in a village that sits 4200 meters (nearly 14,000 feet) up in the Andes and is a member of an indigenous South American tribe. Her village was historically very poor and neglected. But the revolutionary story began with her grandfather, Juan Cruz.
The villages in that part of the Andes were isolated with hardly anyone travelling from one village to another. But, her grandfather boldly traveled to a different village and while he was there, someone gave him a Bible in Spanish, the trade language.
He could not read or write, but he longed to understand what was in the book. He knew there was a God and every night, he would ask God to help him understand how to decipher the book. One day he found that suddenly he could understand what the book was telling him. He read it avidly and soon gave his life to Jesus.
He couldn’t keep this “best news ever heard” to himself and told everyone around him. Before long, the entire village had decided to follow Jesus Christ. I asked her how her the heart-change impacted life in general in her village and she explained that her grandfather was a major agent of change. He read the Old Testament and started to implement some of what Moses taught the Israelites about farming and now, two generations later, the farming methods have improved the quality of their crops. From that, the health of the village has improved a lot.
Before her grandfather’s conversion, the children grew up with no education, but now they have had a school for some decades and Adaina is the fruit of that. Just think about that for a moment! Because of the good news, her capacity as a human being in the image of God is being realized. She already has a university degree, has traveled internationally, and is going for a higher degree.
As she told us more of her story, we were a bit puzzled because she recounted that she had experienced a time of “grief” while she was with us. Then she explained it, saying, “The old Adaina died and a new Adaina was born!” This young woman, the first of five children in her family is a beaming example of a transformed person who will be an agent of transformation where ever she goes!
There is no doubt that every social system has its faults, injustices and corrupt practices. We need a revolution! But what do we want? Do we want those who are angry and envious and are demanding their rights, to enlist more of us to tear down the system we know? Are we sure that a better social system will emerge? Or will we see another violent revolution followed by horrendous atrocities as the angry, ambitious and power-hungry revolutionaries take over? That has happened several times in the past hundred hears and the results have not been pretty.
Or would we rather have a revolution that starts with the love of God that transforms individuals, who transform families, who transform villages, and then those transformed villages provide models that lead to transformed nations? The first of these two options produce sudden, dramatic changes, but not the changes that are usually promised. The second of the options is slower, but much more fruitful in the long run.
I vote for the revolution of love.
That is why we must proclaim the Good News as far and wide as possible and why the Bible must be available to all people everywhere!