Skip to comments.The Global South’s Take on Evangelism [Anglican]
Posted on 07/16/2006 6:07:10 PM PDT by sionnsar
The following sermon was delivered by Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa of Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese in Uganda on the Commemoration of the Martyrs of Uganda on June 3, 2006 at Namugongo, Uganda. Many of the nations highest ranking persons were present.
TODAYS SOCIETY IS OURS TO IMPACT FOR CHRIST
TEXT: Matthew 10:20
Your Grace the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi.
Our Chief Guest His Highness the Omukama of Toro Rukirabasaija Agutamba Kabamba Iguru
The Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Prof. Apollo Nsibambi
The Bishop of Namirembe Diocese
My Fellow Brother Bishops
The Clergy and all Pilgrims
When Jesus sent out his disciples, he never hid the fact that death was one of the possibilities that could come as a result of working for the gospel.
This means that whoever chooses to follow Jesus must do so with the full knowledge that at some point he might be called to die.
Matthew 10:20 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus warning is very plain, and certainly it was clear enough to lead his faithful followers into the true path of light while at the same time it must have scared away those who were only following Jesus to get the worldly possessions and glory which they hoped to receive by following after Jesus.
Furthermore, in Luke 9:23-25 Jesus cautions his potential followers, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me, he will save it.
Again, it is plain that Jesus was truthful about the risk that those who put themselves behind him must seriously bear in mind. In doing this, our Lord was preparing the disciples for the worst scenario. Any good leader must certainly motivate his followers by making them aware of the good results and rewards that are waiting for them when they reach the end of their struggles. However, it not a good leader who fails to also worn them of the obstacles, trials, pain and suffering that they must often struggle through before they will ultimately reach their final reward. Jesus scores high on this point.
There is no Christian who joins our Lords call who can express ignorance of the expectation or possibility of death.
Because of Christs love for us, he has made it impossible for any true Christian to answer the Lords call without fully understanding the personal cost that awaits him on the way to his final goal. Because of the Lords clear warning, no Christian who truly follows in the Lords footsteps will ever be able to express ignorance of the struggles and trials that lie before him even the possible expectation of death.
The time came when the disciples finally had to give up their lives for the sake of the gospel. When the message of the gospel came to our land here in Uganda, it was no exception. The early believers of our land were duty bound to be ready to lay down their own lives for the sake of the gospel and for those of us who were to follow in their footsteps.
They were not afraid of those who could kill the body but who had no power to destroy both soul and body in hell. Furthermore they knew that in losing their earthly lives, they were securing their eternal life with the Father and Son.
This type of conviction was precedented in the Old Testament when Meshak, Shadrach and Abednego stood before a furious king who demanded that they bow down to a golden image. They could not bow down to it. Even when threatened with the furnace, they had this to say, Oh! Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king! But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image you have set up. Dan. 3:16-18
In the same spirit our martyrs in this country at this holy place took their stand before the king of Buganda. They carried the banner of Jesus Christ and refused to get involved in pagan and worldly practices to the peril of their bodies but to the salvation of their souls.
Tom Tuma and Phares Mutiibwa in A Century of Christianity in Uganda 1877-1977 tell us that there are probably three key reasons which culminated in the extreme hatred and persecution of Christians. I will mention only two of them here:
(a) When the martyrs refused to be party to any of the shamefully sinful habits and behaviors which the Kabaka himself and some chiefs had initiated The king and some chiefs took this as a lack of loyalty on the part of the Christians.
(b) The high-ranking chiefs saw the truthfulness and excellent behavior of Christians as a threat, and they suspected that in the long run the Kabaka would be tempted to offer all top posts to the Christians.
These are some of the reasons that led to the execution of the men whose anniversary we celebrate every year in this holy place.
These men were truthful and steadfast to their faith in their own day and generation. The challenge we have today is that, whereas they were truthful and steadfast in their generation, we Christians of today continue to draw pride (rightly though) from their boldness and brevity, however we fall short when we just dwell on commemorating their good example, but we fail to emulate it in our own lives.
We need to do both, commemorate and emulate. The men we are commemorating today would have stood up against the current rampant corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. It is the duty of every Christian living in todays Uganda to stand up against this evil which is in our midst. Corruption has become a war cry, which we just talk about but fail to stand up against. The task of fighting corruption is ours, because as Christians we compose the majority in this country. If we follow the example of these martyrs, we will defeat corruption.
These young men were not tied up by their immediate circumstances they saw through their surroundings. In a way they were prophets a prophet is also known as a seer a person who sees. A seer looks past the immediate to the ultimate. Just like Stephen when he said, Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God (Acts. 7:56), when he was surrounded by a furious crowd, gnashing their teeth at him. But because he was full of the Holy Spirit, he looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Similarly our martyrs were able to see beyond the fire, beyond being maimed. Stephen was a seer, just as our martyrs were seers, seeing beyond their immediate circumstances to their ultimate reward.
Unfortunately today, because we are committed to the cult of immediacy, in the fast pace of modern times, we often do not realize the consequences of our actions. All we are interested in is an immediate and profitable solution to a present problem. Therefore we need to develop the ability to see tomorrows consequences of the actions we take today to see past the immediate to the ultimate.
A seer has a vision of possibilities. He or she looks through the situation. The martyrs saw through the fires, through the smoke and they saw Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life.
The seer is a real person, the kind of person we need in our families, homes, work places and society. Today we seem more concerned with quick fixes and immediacy than we are about long-term consequences. That is why cosmetic firms are doing so well. As long as we look good, we are likely to feel good about ourselves. If we look good and feel good about ourselves, nothing else matters. Unfortunately we have bought into a lie. What really matters is not so much whether we look good or feel good, but whether we are good. The true seer (martyrs) can see past the cosmetic (looking good), and can see through feeling good, and can concentrate on the issues that determine whether we are good or evil. Christ warned, You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and self indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside and then the outside will also be clean. This was the vision of our martyrs and it has to be the vision of anyone who claims to be a Christian.
It is a very well known fact that Christians are the majority in this country let us transform that fact from a statistic into an impact. If we are not ready to stand up and say no to the evils of today, then our annual pilgrimage to Namugongo is just lip service to our gallant martyrs.
Rt. Honorable Prime Minister, it is said that if all the money that comes into our country were not misused, we would now be driving on paved roads all over the country. But, what do we see and hear - corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation. Take the example of the Global Fund - where are we Christians? Let us fight this evil as Christians. We know of the story of a civil servant who repented of stealing public funds, but instead of being rewarded, he was jailed. It took the president to sort it out. And you know of many, many cases that simply go unpunished.
It is my contention that we commemorate them as well as emulate them by challenging our contemporary evils. If need be, we too must become martyrs. It is not enough to depend and rely on the achievements of our previous generations of faith.
Todays society is ours to impact and influence for Christ.
God bless you.
Wow, that Bishop is a pistol!
So different from TEC and CofE.
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