So goes the strap line for one of the great(?) symbols of our day. Reminds me of Paul’s words – ‘this one thing I do’. His context was his passion to be faithful to his Lord, but taking it out of context I have often used his phrase as ‘make sure you complete the focus you have’. Do the one thing, even if there are 100 things left undone, rather than do the 100 but omit to do the one thing. We have one thing to do this year… follow (spell that stumble along) wherever it takes us as we track with the entry, defeat and expulsion of the Muslims from Spain.
It is an interesting journey. A while back just before we began with the first journey north I said to Gayle – we might be the only believers in Spain who are focused on this specifically so we had better do it. Always of course there are many others who got there a long time before us. Here a quote regarding the town where we live:
In other cases, the rebels shouted “Death to the Moors unless they become Christians!”. At the town of Oliva, Muslims were robbed and killed even as they were being taken to the church to be baptized, and eyewitnesses reported dozens of corpses littering the roadsides. Not all Christians engaged in these activities or approved of them. Some Muslims at Oliva were protected by a local friar and a group of local Christians, and this was not the only occasion in which Christians intervened to save Muslims from the rebels.
I noted also when writing about La Muela and the atrocity there that Zapata spent months seeking out Muslims to get them safely to Africa. There seems always to be seed in the ground. Seed waits for a time to be watered and for a result to spring up.
In seeking to explain the what and the why we are deeply challenged. If we had been instructed to pray into the history of the Jewish expulsions there would have been more of a resonance for many. That expulsion and treatment was and continues to be an issue. The only question that would remain would be that of the validity of repentance for something ‘we’ did not do. But the Muslim expulsion? A double issue – ‘we’ did not do that, and ‘they’ are a false religion that has to be resisted.
In my inbox this morning came Jeff Fountain’s weekly word: (available at http://www.schumancentre.eu), entitled ‘Casting out Fear’. With the backdrop of the terror attacks Jeff then opens what the news does not report (and by news I also include the ‘Christian’ news).
Dr. David Garrison has researched the impact of the Gospel in the Muslim lands and defines a ‘movement to Christ’ as being when more than 1000 Muslims were baptised as Isa-believers within a community, or over 100 churches were planted, within a generation. (So how many movements are there in the Western world by those criteria?)
Garrison says the first Muslim movement to Christ did not occur until the 19th century, more than 1000 years after Muhammad’s message first echoed from the minarets of Medina. Then a further ten Muslim movements to Christ in the late 20th century. But, he writes, in the few years so far of the 21st century, we have already seen more than 60 new Muslim movements to Christ–a staggering increase!
So back to our little ‘one thing we do’. If land holds the corporate memory, and blood cries out from the land, Spain is vulnerable to all kinds of entrances. The church (certainly those who follow Christ, and maybe those that take the name church also?) has an unlocking and locking mandate. If the church has lived by the sword, and that militancy still is a strong paradigm, certainly at a heart level – and often beyond that too, there is something to be undone. Seed is in the land. It waits for a time to be watered. Good seed and bad seed. After watering comes fruit.
What a time to partner with heaven. Gayle and I do not need to convince one and all. That is irrelevant. Thank God for the many who have gone before, and the many today who are standing in line with the cross of Christ who are being more faithful than we are… but we need to do that one thing set before us.