Thursday, January 17, 2013

becoming a martyr

     Picture this. After an amazing revival, an invitation is held. Down at the front, at the altar, lays a long piece of cloth. On this cloth, those who are convicted to do so, are to draw a cross and then sign their name next to it. As you can see, this is not a normal invitation. Not normal at all. Signing your name has consequences. Accepting this invitation will change your life forever. This is an invitation to lay down your life. This is an invitation to give yourself completely over to God: mind, soul, and body. This is an invitation to die to yourself. The room is completely silent. No music, no singing, no whispering. You are sitting there with your head bowed, knowing what should be done, but realizing the consequences. Tears flood your eyes, your hands clench together, a sob escapes your lips. You know what you have to do. You stand up abruptly and squeeze past everyone else in your row, not really caring who is in your way. You have a mission to accomplish. The aisles are full of fellow students who have made the same decision as you tonight. Some truly mean it, some don't, but that doesn't matter to you. It is between them and God. The room is completely dark except for three lights shining down on the altar and the sacred item that is hanging above it. As you slowly make your way down the aisle to the altar, you are focusing only on that special item. The cross. Suddenly drums begin to play. Low bass drums that are so loud, it rumbles deep inside you. The steady beat reminds you of an execution. All of a sudden it gets real, really real. You are becoming a martyr. You really are going to your death. There is no turning back. As you slowly walk onward, the band begins to sing the words  

"Hallelujah, You have won the victory. Hallelujah, You have won it all for me. 
Death could not hold You down. You are the risen King. 
Seated in Majesty. You are the risen King." 

     You and everyone around you repeat it over and over again, each time getting louder and more powerful. As you stare ahead at the cross, realizing what signing your name means, knowing there is no turning back, and singing those powerful words, the tears begin to flow once again. Before you know it, the altar is before you and a pen is thrusted into your hand. This is it. The time has come. With bold, slow strokes, you draw the precious cross. When the cross is complete and your hand moves to begin writing your name, you pause. You close your eyes, take a deep breath, whisper one final prayer, and without any more hesitation, you sign your name. It is done. As if in a daze, you turn around and begin to make your way back up the aisle to your seat. You slowly sit down, pondering what just happened. That night in bed, it hits you all over again. "I died tonight. I now know what it it is like to die a martyr's death for Christ. I laid down my life. I am changed forever. There is no turning back. Hallelujah, You have won the victory. Hallelujah, You have won it all for me."

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