The mission festival guest speaker had my attention. The sermon centered on our call as Christian ambassadors. I appreciated the analogy and the exhortation to make it personal. Not until the final point did I wander along a path not laid out in the sermon. To be honest, it was not the fault of the speaker, rather the words “we have diplomatic immunity.” I hadn’t wandered, rather skipped, jumped, hurdled, from what he explained as “diplomatic immunity” and what I knew it was not, but wanted it to be.
With a son serving in a foreign mission field, mission festival mines at a weightier level. It becomes very personal. Yes, we are all to be missionaries, yes, spread the Word as we go, where we go. But at that moment, I was sorry the words “diplomatic immunity” did not hold the promise of physical immunity from harm. Missionaries do not live in an impenetrable force field. They are not immune to all danger. The miserable treatment of Old Testament prophets is too long to support the delusion. Very quickly after the ascension, the apostles were beaten for their witness. Stephen was stoned. Church history recounts how first century Christians were tossed to lions, crucified, and exiled. “Flung to the Heedless Winds,” a hymn written by Martin Luther, was composed for the first two martyrs of the Reformation. They were burned at the stake. Current methods of persecution have regressed to beheading and progressed to semi-automatic weapons. Preservation from all physical difficulties, up to and including death, is not promised in the diplomatic package.
So what’s a mother to do? Pray of course. At the expense of the final point of the final part of the sermon, pray is what I did. Not only for our son, but for all the missionaries. For strength of faith, for courage of conviction, “…that Thy Word… may have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people.” (TLH p.14) And yes, I prayed for their bodily safety.
Endangered by tears, I forced a refocus on the sermon. Unfortunately I returned only in time for the “amen.” The point I missed, I have since learned, was as ambassadors, we do not answer to the world, but to the authority of Christ.
Diplomatic immunity authorized by Christ. It is certified by the Lamb who was slain and now reigns with all things under His feet. The Head, not of state, but of all says “thus far and no further” to any evil Satan devises. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” (Phil 1:21) “Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14: 8) “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1) Diplomatic immunity, it’s not only a missionary perk. Got faith? Then you too have diplomatic immunity. Use it. Enjoy it. Trust it.
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