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March 24, 2015 · 12:25

No Compromise (a short homily for Palm/Passion Sunday)

Palm/Passion Sunday – Year B:   Mark 11 verses 1-11

 

Most people will have seen Mel Gibson’s rousing (and historically illiterate) movie,  Braveheart.  In the film, William Wallace attempts to unite the feuding factions in Scotland in their fight against England in the 13th century.  In doing so, he tries to elicit the help of Robert the Bruce.

 

wallpaper-braveheart-32189752-1920-1080-it-s-20-years-later-and-the-cast-of-braveheart-have-changed-a-lot

 

Bruce refuses to help and in soliloquy he says: “Wallace is an uncompromising man.  Uncompromising men are admirable.  But only a compromising man can be king.”

We can affirm that on Palm Sunday an uncompromising man became King of all history.

There may be times when we have to be flexible.  On strategies, we can compromise, but not in principles.

There must come a time when we ask: Is this the way it is–Yes or No?  Palm Sunday challenges the notion that all of life is but a part of the compromising process.

There once was an English priest called Charlie Andrews who became a friend of Gandhi in India.

Andrews worked and lived with the Indian Nationalists.  The Government, however, also used him as an intermediary to explain positions and decisions.

Most British people in India misunderstood him, because they thought that he was a traitor to Britain.  Many also said that he had compromised his Christian faith.

He was reviled and slandered, even although he wrote books with titles like ‘What I owe to Christ’

Andrews was really, truly, and sincerely, a man of God and a committed Christian.

He followed the way of the Cross in more ways than patiently bearing lies, insults, and abuse from the British in India.  He also lived a most spartan life in primitive village conditions, and lived tirelessly for other people.  Nobody in any kind of need was outside his concern.

 

cf-andrews

 

 

 

During Gandhi’s illness, Charlie Andrews was constantly with him, and the press reported that he would sing Ghandi’s favourite hymn to him – ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’

Charlie Andrews never counted the cost to himself of anything he did.  That is the true mark of the loyal follower of Jesus Christ, who himself gave up his life for many.  Jesus Christ came to serve humankind, regardless of the criticism, condemnation, and misrepresentation.  He never compromised his message or his mission.

Nor did Charlie Andrews, nor have countless other followers of Christ in all centuries since Jesus uncompromisingly started to bring the Kingdom of God into the lives of men and women everywhere.

On Palm Sunday, the crowd cheered Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.  Later that week, the acclamation turned to condemnation, as they bayed for his blood with their cries of ‘Crucify him!  Crucify him!’

These people just could not follow Jesus all the way through.  For, when he became unpopular because of his uncompromising stand, they abandoned him.

Is our faith like that?  Are we fair-weather Christians, ready to drop principles or compromise our beliefs when the going gets tough, our position threatened, or our personal comfort disturbed?

On the other hand, are we like Charlie Andrews and his kind whose faith never wavered?  A man who stuck to his principles.  A true disciple of his Lord and Master who, undoubtedly, took these words of Jesus to heart:

‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me’

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Gandhi and the Professor

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Sadly, this seems to be an “urban legend”, but it does illustrate the wilyness and wisdom of a great man – even at an early age:

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, a white professor, whose last name was Peters, disliked him intensely and always displayed prejudice and animosity towards him. Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him, as he expected…. there were always “arguments” and confrontations.

One day, Mr Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said, “Mr Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”
Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “You do not worry professor. I’ll fly away,” and he went and sat at another table.

Mr Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions. Mr Peters, unhappy and frustrated, asked him the following question. “Mr Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?”

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “The one with the money, of course.”

Mr Peters, smiling sarcastically said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don’t you think?”

Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”

Mr Peters, by this time, was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi’s exam sheet the word “idiot” and gave it to Gandhi. Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.

A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, “Mr Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

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A Drop in the Ocean

A Drop in the Ocean

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April 20, 2013 · 07:54

Stand Up and be Counted

How sad that today it so often appears that people will not stand up and be counted. Even the Church so often seems to prefer compromise to principle.  Yet it has not always been so.

Little has been said about the role of the churches in the fall of the Iron Curtain. From September to November of 1989 East Germany experienced what became known as the October revolution in which the 40-year-old communist government fell with remarkably little violence. The church played an important role in encouraging the peaceful demonstrations that followed evening prayer services. On October 9 of that year it appeared as if things night get very brutal especially since Erich Honecker ordered a fierce and violent crackdown on the demonstrations.

The Lutheran Bishop warned of a blood bath and doctors cleared hospital wards in order to treat the casualties. The church decided not to cancel the prayer services however and appealed for calm. After the service the demonstrators numbered over 150,000. In a courageous act of defiance and insubordination, Egon Krenz, the politbureau member in charge of security, refused to carry our Honecker’s orders and the demonstration remained peaceful. That night became a turning point in the revolution. Some weeks later demonstrators hung a banner across a Leipzig street: saying Wir Danken Dir Kirche which means Thank You Church.

Sometimes we fail to realize just how important these acts of courage and political and religious defiance can be in the history of the world.

Remember many of these folks who stood up for their beliefs against enormous odds. Thomas More, the 16th century Oxford educated statesman, opposed two of the Kings of his day. He stood up to Henry VII and suffered for his opposition. He then became a favourite of Henry VIII who knighted him and who also often sought his companionship in philosophical conversations. The friendship was not to last!, for when Henry VIII became disenchanted with his wife, Catherine of Aragon he planned to divorce her in clear defiance of the Pope. More decided that his first loyalty was to the church and he was eventually executed by Henry VIII. 400 years later More was canonized by the Catholic Church.

Oliver Tyndale; who translated the Bible from Latin to English. was executed by the Kingdom for doing so.

Martin Luther; confronted the powers of the world with what he perceived was the fundamental truths of Christianity and when attacked was forced to leave the church he loved to start the Protestant Movement.

John Wesley; was condemned for preaching salvation by Grace and almost killed several times, and continually ridiculed for his faith.

Of course there are others: Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela  all people who stood up to those in power and proclaimed the truth – no matter what the cost.

What is more important: the favour of the world or the integrity of following the way we feel to be the way of God?

The Bible asks us to make a choice: We can be “successful” or we can be like the disciples – and Jesus, —–“significant”, trying to make a difference in spite of the power of this world.

Which is more important? If we are honest with ourselves and with our faith we know the answer.

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Charlie Andrews

There once was an English priest called Charlie Andrews who became a friend of Gandhi in India.

letter from Ghandi

letter to Andrews from Gandhi

Andrews worked and lived with the Indian Nationalists.  The Government, however, also used him as an intermediary to explain positions and decisions.

Most British people in India misunderstood him, because they thought that he was a traitor to Britain.  Many also said that he had compromised his Christian faith.

He was reviled and slandered, even although he wrote books with titles like ‘What I owe to Christ’

Andrews was really, truly, and sincerely, a man of God and a committed Christian.

He followed the way of the Cross in more ways than patiently bearing lies, insults, and abuse from the British in India.  He also lived a most spartan life in primitive village conditions, and lived tirelessly for other people.  Nobody in any kind of need was outside his concern.

During Ghandi’s illness, Charlie Andrews was constantly with him, and the press reported that he would sing Ghandi’s favourite hymn to him – ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’

Charlie Andrews never counted the cost to himself of anything he did.  That is the true mark of the loyal follower of Jesus Christ, who himself gave up his life for many.  Jesus Christ came to serve humankind, regardless of the criticism, condemnation, and misrepresentation.  He never compromised his message or his mission.

Nor did Charlie Andrews, nor have countless other followers of Christ in all centuries since Jesus uncompromisingly started to bring the Kingdom of God into the lives of men and women everywhere.

c.andrews

Born in Newcastle, England, on February, 12, 1871 ;Charles Freer Andrews graduated from Cambridge University in 1896 and was ordained priest in 1897. He became Vice Principal of Westcott College, Cambridge in 1899 ; a position which he left in 1904 to take up a teaching appointment at St Stephens College in Delhi.

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Gandhi – Ten Best Quotes

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and spiritual leader of India. 

1.
ON LIFE
“My life is my message.”

2.
ON BEING A SOLDIER
“I regard myself as a soldier, though a soldier of peace.“

3.
ON FAITH IN HUMANITY
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

4.
ON NONVIOLENCE
“Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.”

5.
ON THE SEVEN SINS
“Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.”

6.
ON TRUTH
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.”

7.
ON THE “STILL SMALL VOICE”
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.”

8.
ON LIBERTY
“I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.”

9.
ON FORGIVENESS
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

10.
ON THE NATURE OF MAN
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

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Positivity

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