Today I'm linking up with Five Minute Friday, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is PLACE.
(*We wrote on this word before, in August 2017. This is the link to the post I wrote back then, on a totally different subject.)
My Thursday women's group at church has been studying the book of Hebrews. Last week we were talking about Hebrews 11, the "faith" chapter, which lists many heroes of faith like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph Moses, and Rahab.
Then the writer alludes to all the others whose names are unknown, those who underwent torture and deprivation:
"...They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith..."
As we talked about these verses, I was reminded of another passage I had recently been reading, from Mark 10. James and John come to Jesus and ask, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."Jesus responds by saying that it's not up to him to decide who will sit in these places of honour -- "These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared" -- and he reminds the disciples that whoever wants to be great must first be servant of all.
Thinking of these two passages together, I wondered aloud if maybe one of those obscure, unnamed faith heroes from Hebrews 11 might be given one of those places of honour at Jesus' side.
I even wonder ... and hear me out here ... if maybe someone from another religious tradition might get one of those places -- one of those "sheep from a different pen" that Jesus refers to in John 10.
If that's even possible, then I think it might be someone like this Muslim man in Christchurch, who greeted a gunman with the words "Hello, brother" before being killed along with 48 other worshippers.
One Twitter user wrote, "As he faced a rifle, his last words were peaceful words of unconditional love. DO NOT tell me that nonviolence is weak or pacifism is cowardice. I have seen the face of God."
I don't know exactly how God decides who will be granted those places of honour in his new kingdom. But if faithful endurance and peace in the face of unspeakable adversity count for anything, then maybe this man will be recognized. The world is not worthy of him.