Lessons from the Faithful in Munich…

In case you weren’t at Bethany Community Church yesterday (and even if you were), I thought you’d enjoy this little production, created by roaming around Munich in search of learning more about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose.

Many people ask about the fruit of their work.  I can offer two stories, and with each, a word of hope from the Scriptures.  First, when the news of the White Rose reached America, the allies printed the leaflets by the tens of thousands and air-dropped them over the German cities, doing what, in their wildest expectations, none of the white rose would have imagined while they were living.  Jesus said it this way:  “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains by itself, alone.  But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  These lives bore fruit, precisely because they were willing to die.  And of course, the thing of it is this:  Jesus is asking all of us to lay down our lives, and ways both large and small, for His purposes.  We must learn to make His will our only agenda, which means we must also learn to listen for His voice and be quick to follow Him.  In this way, we will find ourselves swept into the destiny God has for us.

The second principle is related to the first.  I will surely never go down the road of laying down my life unless there’s something far more important than ‘my life’ in my worldview.  Of course, those who follow Jesus know that, whatever their life might entail during these days on earth, their life on earth isn’t the end of it all.  They have more.  One women wrote this, regarding the tremendous sacrifice of the White Rose students:  ‘You can live without owning anything.  But you can’t live without having something ahead of you, ahead of you in the sense of something inside you.  You can’t live without hope.

Of course, there is nothing greater in which we can invest our lives than imparting the beauty of Christ’s reign into the very real world of this day, blessing people in the name of Christ, and inviting people to both be reconciled to God and join in the work of manifesting His kingdom.  Hans and Sophie were exemplary and inspiring to me, not only because of their courage, but because their courage came wrapped in lives well lived.  Clearly enjoying good food, the mountains, poetry, and good conversation, they nonetheless held the courage of their convictions in such a way that they were willing to lay everything on the line for the sake of their call.  It cost them their lives, but their testimony lives on.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us…lay aside our weights of sin, fix our eyes on Jesus, and run our race.”  May we too be joy filled people who love God, love others, and stand firm!!

Cheers… from Austria

5 thoughts on “Lessons from the Faithful in Munich…

  1. Oh man, that was a good story. I don’t know exactly what was going through the minds of German Christians as the Nazi party was coming to power, but my own personal experience on this subject tells me one thing: keep yourself from idols at all costs.

    God was patient with me on this one (thanks be to Him), and it took me some time to realize that if there’s anything out there which causes you to drop Him and His truth for anything else–be it a cause, a race, a country, or even your family–your idolatry will eat you alive and bring misery upon others. We, the human race, were built to worship and serve Him alone. Keep all else from getting in the way! True for Nazis, true for everyone else 🙂

    God bless ya!

  2. Sophie Scholl’s last words:

    “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

    Then she was beheaded by guillotine.

  3. This fall I’ve read about the 22 courageous and faithful Westerners, Christian missionaries, businessmen, and diplomats, who remained in Nanking when the Japanese army invaded in 1937. An international committee was formed led by John Rabe, a German businessman and a member of the Nazi party. This committee created the “Nanking Safety Zone” which is credited with saving thousands of people’s lives.

    In this case, there were Nazis on the side of good, working side-by-side with Christians. I commend this story to you as well as reading the diary of Minnie Vautrin, who saved as many as 10,000 women and children at the Ginling Women’s College. She is known as the “Goddess of Nanking”, and her life speaks powerfully of “giving herself up to a righteous cause.”

    In this story, I see my heritage both as oppressor, being of Japanese ancestry and my call as a Christian to defend the weak, feed the hungry, protect the innocent.

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