Monday, September 17, 2007

Receiving the Word With Joy

One of the biggest encouragements in my life recently has been reading through Brother Andrew's book God's Smuggler. What a life Brother Andrew witnessed to embracing the call of discipleship as he brought the gospel and scriptures to the Christians behind the Iron Curtain! What wondrous works of God he has beheld along the path of obedience! Recorded account after account gives testimony to the power of a living God, active and alive in this world today. I have been struck, particularly, by how so many Christians behind the Iron Curtain greatly rejoiced simply to receive the scriptures. It seems so contrasted to a time where the Church in the West struggles to even make time for the scriptures. The following passage is worth recounting. It gives an account of Brother Andrew's visit to the Bulgarian people in 1957, a time when there was not even a Bible in every Bulgarian church.

In Brother Andrew's words:
Petroff sat down and I waited for the hymn, then realized that of course singing was impossible in this church underground. I spoke for perhaps twenty minutes, then nodded to Petroff. He jumped up and, with a flourish, unwrapped the package he had brought with him and held up... a Bible!

There were exclamations that threatened to be too loud before those assembled caught themselves and put hands to mouths. Then there were great bear hugs from the men and warm foreheads-on-the-shoulder form the women, before they passed the Book from one hand to another, tenderly opening it and closing it again.