Monday, January 05, 2004
I thought I'd pass on a story told during the sermon at church yesterday. This obviously isn't word-for-word, but I've done my best to tell it the same way as the minister did.
Several years ago, when the Soviet Union still existed, there was a small Christian congregation in a town just outside Vladivostok. There were about a hundred people there, and they'd just started their service when the doors burst open and a Soviet officer strode in, accompanied by armed soldiers. These men immediately cocked and raised their weapons, aiming them at the congregation as the service suddenly stopped.
"You are not allowed to meet here. You are enemies of the state. You are worthless, and are what is holding the Soviet Union back. You will all be shot in a few minutes," the officer barked. "However," he said with his best Marxist smile, "we know that not all of you really believe this, and that you may have been misled. Therefore, anyone who does not truly believe in Christianity may leave."
To this, there was a scramble, and about half the congregation left. As the last one left, a sigh of resignation came up from those who remained. Suddenly, all the soldiers put their safeties on and lowered their weapons. The officer turned to the priest, and said "I'm sorry we had to do that, but we needed to get the informers out. My men and I would like to worship with you, if you'll have us."