Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friends or Fugitives

Isaiah 66:19. I ran across the word "fugitive" while reading in the New American Bible this morning. In Protestant translations, the same word is rendered "those who have escaped", "survivors", "remnants". When I think of a fugitive, I think of a criminal on the run... I think of Harrison Ford in the remake of the same name. But its clear that the "fugitives" from Isaiah 66 aren't criminals. So who are they? At first glance, they appear to be Jews of the (then) future diaspora. But the reading also calls to mind perhaps a foreshadowing of the persecuted saints- those first Christians who gave their lives to spread the Gospel.

I thought about how most of us live out our faith these days. Would we live differently if we too were fugitives? What if our sole purpose was to "know God & make Him known" (as the now tired expression goes)? And what if that purpose was against the law or rejected by society? What if, despite the danger of mockery, punishment or even death, our love for God was worth any cost? What doctrine or practice would we consider most important in a time of persecution? Would we be willing to redefine ourselves? Would we be able to get over our denominational hurdles or would we remain divided? A house divided cannot stand... but will we be friends or fugitives of the world? We can't be both for long.

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