Thursday, October 13, 2011

Listening to the Persecuted Church

Chris Rice, a colleague and friend of mine, is currently travelling through Romania as part of his work for the Duke Divinity School's Center for Reconciliation. He just posted this over on his blog Reconcilers:

Over 10 days  in Romania and Poland, I am learning how this post-communist context speaks to challenges facing the church in peacemaking.  Romania was my first time in Eastern Europe, and the resides of communism there are striking:  the leftover ugly concrete housing “blocks” everywhere; former Party members and leaders and informants still in government; one Romanian evangelical’s confession “I realize I am still very communist” 23 years after liberation.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn was right about the oppression; it is my first time engaging the pervasive white-on-white form.  Of course there is much more to say about Romania than this, and I will blog more.  Yet on such pilgrimages I try to tune my ear beneath easy explanations to hear both the deeper story of pain (what happened?  why?) and of hope (what shows the way things are is not the way things have to be?).  One sign of hope was a hymn written from the persecuted Romanian church during communism.  They sung it for us at our host Danut Manastireanu’s church and he recorded it (I’m back left with my colleague Gann Herman from the Center for Reconciliation).  Some lyrics follow.  Listen, and imagine this kind of beauty emerging from pain.

Tears of Pain
Oh my tears of heavy pain will they ever end?
Oh, my people, when will you be free?
Breaking now the heavy chain
Like a falcon in the sky I would fly
I’d fly to my homeland
My heart flies away toward heaven
My mind goes up forever
Up there’s my homeland
Oh that much torment will it ever end?
Will justice ever blossom for us?
Breaking now the heavy chain
Like a falcon in the sky I would fly
I’d fly to my homeland

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