This image (which I won't reproduce here for copyright reasons) is very rapidly cropping up all over the web today. It is a picture of a ring of Christians protecting Muslims as they pray during the protests in Egypt. They are apparently standing guard on their fellows, prepared to take blows to allow them to pray in peace. It is a story, an arresting, hope giving thing, truly a case of a picture (and importantly, a caption) saying a thousand words.
I don't know the context for this picture. My journalistic instincts want verification, want to know how we know the men in the foreground are Christians. I don't want to be swept up in the powerful emotions engendered by it, which are a mixture of relief, hope and a little bit of pride. Christians have, for so long, lived a different story in the public eye, our actions have been seen as in conflict with what we preach. And this action isn't. This one is prophetic. It is a simple, wonderful statement about who we are called to be. I become more and more convinced that as the wise Debs Gardner Paterson pointed out, Christianity is like screenwriting- more show, less tell. Or as Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and where necessary use words.”
It is an incredibly timely reminder for us, who are all to some extent story tellers, that we must tell but also live our stories and The Story. We must allow God to make of our lives and our work one coherent testimony. Because perhaps the most powerful word God ever spoke to us, on the cross, was a silent one.