The Responsible Redeemed
I was a confused tourist studying the Boston subway map when a friendly individual paused to offer some directions – “Oh, get off here and straight ahead you will see a building that looks like it’s designed by Albert Speer…you do know who Albert Speer is, right?” I nodded because I knew I recognized the name, but it was moments later that my brain retrieved the file folder of information related to that name. And although I knew Speer to be an architect, I know him best as one of the stories that changed my life.
There’s a thin 176-paged book that revolutionized my college years. It’s titled “The Fabric of Faithfulness” and author Steven Garber weaves a brilliant, convicting argument that challenges university students to connect what they believe about the world with how they live. It is within this book that Garber tells the story of Albert Speer – a young architect who was more concerned with making a name for himself than the politics of the dictator who hired him. His story is a tragic one of a life work unmotivated by belief or conviction. In stark contrast to Speer’s story is the final chapter of Garber’s book, entitled “Convictions, Character, Community Incarnate.” It tells the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl and The White Rose.
It is the story of a group of Christian university students in Nazi Germany who began to realize the ugly side of Nazism. As their knowledge grew, they quickly reached the conclusion that “We are Christians, and we are Germans; therefore we are responsible for Germany!” This was not only a conviction, but a deep belief that drove them to publish The White Rose, a series of leaflets speaking out against Nazism and Hitler. The core group of The White Rose, led by brother Hans and sister Sophie Scholl, formed a network to encourage resistance against the Nazi regime, especially among their fellow university students. While distributing the fourth edition of The White Rose, they were captured and later beheaded for their efforts.
You and I don’t live in Nazi Germany. But we do belong among the redeemed. We have received grace. We are recipients of mercy. We have the truth. We know the way.
And we are responsible for what we know and have received.
Like me, you have probably rejoiced with the song “Say So” – with your hands in the air singing “I am redeemed, I am redeemed…” But just as important is the rest of that song that says: “To be salt and light in the world, in the world…” We are the redeemed. We are responsible for offering redemption to the world.
We have the truth. We are responsible for the truth. We are responsible for holding on to it, and for proclaiming it. In the words of Hebrews 2:3-4: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
We know the way. We know how to live a holy life that is pleasing to God. We have been filled with God’s Spirit. We are redeemed. We are responsible.
It was the story of Hans and Sophie and The White Rose that drove me out of my warm hotel room one cold November in Washington, D.C. and across town to the Holocaust Museum. There, on the final floor of the exhibit I found a little corner that told their story. Somehow the floor to ceiling display stirred me more than the written word – and Sophie’s words while standing trial before the chief justice echoed again and again: “Somebody, after all, had to make a start.”
We are the redeemed and we are responsible. Let’s go make a start at offering redemption, holding fast to the truth, and living a holy life. We are the redeemed and we are responsible.