A Tale of Two Marches
This past Saturday I was privileged to attend the March for the Babies in Melbourne, where thousands of peaceful marchers, with one voice, sang the national anthem and Amazing Grace, listened to impassioned speeches pleading for life for the unborn, and prayed for change, for a return to humanity for the most defenceless of our State. It was a real family day out; joyful, peaceful, focussed on life, and on our hope in Christ.
Some Christians also marched in Bendigo on Saturday, protesting the planned building of a mosque in Bendigo. Sadly the momentum of that protest movement is being taken over by militancy, mob mentality, and pure xenophobia. The news coverage predictably zeroed in on the worst of the behaviour, but the whole movement is now tarred by that media brush.
Don’t get me wrong. I would love for there to be no mosque in Bendigo, or Australia for that matter. Or anywhere in the World. I would love for all people of the world see that Jesus alone is the truth, the very meaning of life.
My problem is how we strive to achieve that end.
Two marches, same day. ‘What gives you the right to support one and judge the other’ I hear you say.
The one followed Jesus’ example. As in Acts 4 and 5 it was a celebration of God’s sovereignty over the affairs of man, a prayer of intercession to Him.
The other was born and marched out in a spirit of fear, with people seeking in their own power to stop something they fear. Why? Because it threatens them, somehow, sometime in the future. It is also deeply misguided and dangerous, for in our precious democracy the call to ban one faith from building a place of worship is an invitation to tyranny.
But they did not march for the babies. Babies who are dying in their tens of thousands right now, right here in Victoria.
So my plea is to the Christians who are tempted to trust in the arm of man. Jesus said ‘Do not fear him who can kill the body….’
No, do not let fear control you. Once you do, you are already dying inside. Seek out the example of the early church in Acts 4 and 5. Raise up your voices in worship and trust to Jesus, the Kings of Kings, Lord of Lords, who will come one day, heal and restore sanity to this broken world. And perhaps next year you could ‘March for the Babies’ with other believers to bear witness to the sanctity of life in this dying world.
And as for Islam? Well, rather than trying to turn our democracy back into tyranny, let’s do what Christians have successfully done for 2,000 years, witness with our very lives, and share the good news of Jesus, who came that all mankind might have eternal life.