For many years I worked in the field of religious liberty. So many Christian believers daily face discrimination and much worse simply on account of their faith. It is sad in today’s world that faith can stir up so much antagonism, when the fruit of faith is a creative and constructive contribution to the quality of society. It is perhaps a reminder to all of us to live out our faith far more intentionally so that the fruit might be more readily experienced by those around us. This is surely central to Jesus’ call to go and make disciples.
I remember as a new Christian meeting and spending time with Bishop Janani Luwum of Uganda. He fearlessly led the Church, was a statesman of great stature and did not shrink back from criticising the dictator Idi Amin when his government committed atrocities. I remember him explaining to me that God required us to stand up for his truth no matter the opposition, for there was none greater than God. He also advised me that I might read of him turning up dead in unexplained circumstances – something he said with a broad smile that did not match his words.
In 1977 it was announced that Luwum had died tragically in a car accident, along with two government ministers. When his body was released to his family, it was found to be riddled with bullets; a result of Amin’s revenge for his ‘treason’.
The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that ‘we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved’ (10:39, NRSV). Challenging words, yet timely given the unstable world in which we live, a world where faith must be seen to be fruitful and Christians known for who and what they truly are.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings