It is said that on the evening of June 18, 1815 a man stood in the tower of England’s Winchester Cathedral gazing anxiously out to sea. At last he found what he was looking for – a ship sending a signal by use of lights. He strained to see the message. All of England held its breath with him, wanting to know the outcome of the war between their military leader, the Duke of Wellington, and the French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte, who had once ruled all of Europe bar England remained a threat, and now the decisive Battle of Waterloo had been fought.
So, as he stood in the tower of Winchester Cathedral our man waited to relay the news that would determine England’s future. The signal came just as a heavy fog was rolling in. It only just got through, but how he wished it hadn’t, for the signal read: “Wellington defeated”
The man signalled to other stations and the news spread across the countryside, bringing great gloom and sadness. But then a great reversal. The fog lifted, and the message was sent again, this time in full: “Wellington defeated the enemy”. Joy? Happiness? Delirium! Wellington had won!
On Good Friday it seemed the message was “Christ defeated”, but three days later we discover that the message had not been receive din full. The resurrection reverses what we initially thought and declares “Christ defeated the enemy!”
During the deepest, darkest days of apartheid when the government tried to shut down opposition by canceling a political rally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared that he would hold a church service instead.
St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa was filled with worshippers. Outside the cathedral hundreds of police gathered, a show of force intended to intimidate. As Tutu was preaching they entered the Cathedral, armed, and lined the walls. They took out notebooks and recorded Tutu’s words.
But Tutu would not be intimidated. He preached against the evils of apartheid, declaring it could not endure. At one extraordinary point he addressed the police directly.
You are powerful. You are very powerful, but you are not gods and I serve a God who cannot be mocked. So, since you’ve already lost, since you’ve already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side!
With that the congregation erupted in dance and song.
The police didn’t know what to do. Their attempts at intimidation had failed, overcome by the archbishop’s confidence that God and goodness would triumph over evil. It was but a matter of time.
Source: reported in Jim Wallis, God’s Politics
While a student at theological college in the United States Bernard Travaieille was playing basketball with some friends. They were using the court at a nearby school, where a friendly old janitor would patiently wait until they had finished their game before locking up. One day Bernard noticed the janitor was reading the bible. In fact he discovered the old janitor was reading the Book of Revelation.
Bernard was surprised. It was a difficult book to interpret even for highly trained bible students! “Do you understand it?” asked Bernard.
“Oh yes, I understand it” the janitor replied.
Now Bernard was really intrigued. Here was this book that baffled scholars, that was the focus of every conspiracy theory known to humanity, and this old man, a janitor with little formal education, claimed to understand it!
“You understand the Book of Revelation?! What do you think it means?” asked Bernard.
The old man looked up at him and very quietly said, “It means that Jesus is gonna win.”
Source: Reported by Bernard Travaieille in Illustrations Unlimited