Friday, June 19, 2009

Pathetic Regime, Extraordinary People

Last November I wrote in this space about meeting an old couple from Iran who were visiting London the same time we were. Only they didn't refer to their country by its usual name. They called it "Persia," choosing the ancient name rather than associate with a corrupt regime. (That was their testimony: "Our leadership is very bad.")

Today's news of a million protesters demonstrating against that very regime makes me wonder if this precious old couple are among them.
At their age, probably not.

Nevertheless, the drum beat of freedom's cry goes on in the streets of Tehran, as tyrants arrest, beat and kill young people who dare to dissent.

"Persia's" leaders may not care about their people, but God does. In fact, in God's economy, the people of Iran, made in his image, are profoundly more important than its government.

Here's how C.S. Lewis put it a few decades ago in his compelling essay, Weight of Glory:

"There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."

Political leaders--both in Iran and the U.S.--may have little regard for a million people struggling for freedom and the opportunity to improve their lives. Power corrupts, as Lord Acton said, and there is evidence of decaying hearts in powerful people in both nations.

But Iran's people, every single man, woman, boy and girl, are precious to Jesus Christ. In fact, Joel Rosenberg believes that more than 1 million Shia Muslims in Iran have turned to Christ since 1979. May the gospel and glory of Christ continue be lifted up there. And wouldn't it be something if it reached the highest levels?

A million Iranian citizens crying for justice deserve to be heard, not because of their own merits, but because of what it means to be human. Despots in high place may ignore them at least for awhile (although how long they can sustain their imperious posture is anybody’s guess), but from eternity things are going to look very, very different to the most vile abuser of authority.

One more quote from C.S. Lewis to make the point:

"The dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare."

1 comment:

CristyLynn said...

Let us pray for God's work to continue to be done in their hearts and for His glory to be evident! I'm glad to read your writing again!