Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012

The Knock on the Door

If any of your ancestors throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were Protestant, especially if they lived in France and certain parts of Germany, this was their story. Imagine having to dread every knock at the door. Perhaps it was a time of peace and they believed it was safe to reveal their religious leanings, only to be immediately suspected. Perhaps they had been forced to hide their religion from authorities. Whatever the circumstances, how must it have been for every knock, every outside noise, to cause a cold panic? 

Even the simplest activities were dangerous for Protestants. (While I am mainly thinking of the French Huguenots, being a Protestant in Catholic territory in Germany, or even a Lutheran in Calvinist territory, would have been much the same at various times throughout history). Words dared never be repeated. When Sunday came and certain families did not appear at the parish church, rumors flew like wildfire. Was it ever possible to sit in one’s home with children gathered around, enjoying the simplest family activities without subconsciously listening for that ugly knock that could mean prison, torture, or death? 

Despite all that constant worry and dread, faith was still the most important aspect in our ancestors’ lives. They prayed that the knock would not come but they handled interrogations with aplomb whenever it did. They did not shirk from outlining their beliefs and admitting their faith. They understood that human nature was unkind at best and that they had no control over the situation . . . only God did. And they left it at that.

The worst knock that Protestants need fear today is salesmen at our door or perhaps spokesman for a religion we do not endorse. Yet this --- this culture of fear, pride, courage, and faith --- is our legacy. Let us honor and respect our ancestors for what they bore and let us be proud they bore it; let us not forget the lengths to which they went so we, the descendants, might have truth. We must never forget how difficult their daily lives must have been.

If, hypothetically speaking, the proverbial knock on the door ever does come, let us go to meet it with grace and courage as our Protestant ancestors did. Let us proudly proclaim  the five solas of the Reformation. Let us feel an intense pride for the faith our ancestors bled and died for, the faith of which they were not ashamed and the faith we boldly proclaim. Let us draw on the strength of the martyrs and honor just as fiercely all that they honored. Let us be proud. Unshakable. Steadfast.

It is the only fitting legacy.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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