live the story

the streets of Budapest
the streets of Budapest

On the eve of commemorating the Hungarian Felkelés (Revolution), it may be a surprise to find this post is birthed out of a different cultural perspective. It has nothing and everything to do with Hungary and the reminder of an anti-Soviet uprising in the streets of Budapest in 1956. The story of the revolution begins with students who demanded to have a voice. Their story ended in a bloody climax just 18 days later on November 10, 1956.  Is it fascinating coincidence that three decades and three years later the Berlin Wall would officially fall on the same date?

Big Business

Bulgarian girls who have been given a chance to grow up through the generosity of Nazarenes
Bulgarian girls who have been given a chance to grow up through the generosity of Nazarenes

Tonight, in a gym in the midst of cheering for baby girls who have inexplicably grown into young women dressed in volleyball uniforms, my Bulgarian friend, Nadya, talked about the one thing on all of our minds. This week, a 4 year-old, blonde girl was found living with a Greek Roma family. She is one of fourteen children, of whom only four are biologically linked to the parents. This blonde baby girl has a mother somewhere.

“You just can’t imagine the corruption” crooned Nadya, forgetting that indeed, I can imagine. At the very least, I have some embryonic understanding of the reality. Young Bulgarian women subject their bodies to IVF treatments then travel to a country like Greece where their eggs are harvested and sold to paying parents to be. Alternatively, children are taken and placed with Roma families who raise them to an age where they bring a good price on the human market as child brides. The age of twelve is prime for a girl.

Where is the Church?

As we talk, Nadya shakes her head, dark brown curls bobbing in agreement. ‘Where is the Church?’ she demands. And this is where the story on the eve of a revolution gets tricky. Nadya and her husband are not actively involved in church and certainly not in a Protestant church but with her heart stirred, she laments, “And why does the Church keep calling people to come into its walls when in truth, it should be going out to the streets? It should be fighting against this corruption.”

A Revolution of the Heart

St. Matthias, Hungary's first Christian king.
St. Matthias, Hungary’s first Christian king.

We have known Nadya, her husband, and their daughter for two years now. They have been a balm to our homesick, Bulgarian souls and we have prayed for them. Never once have I sensed an openness in Nadya. Never once until tonight in a gym on the eve of a Hungarian holiday that remembers a revolution begun by students who believed that speaking the truth was more precious than living their life.

Seeds Take Time

What the Soviets did not know in 1956, I am learning today. Sometimes the seeds of spiritual revolution take time but eventually they root and produce the flower of justice. Those very seeds clearly call the Church into the streets; into the lives of young girls and into the lives of baby girls, and into the markets where humans are defined by a monetary value. Nothing. Absolutely nothing can stop this corruption except for hearts who have been revolutionarily transformed by Christ.

In this post-Soviet, post-Cold War, post-Communist world that still pleads for freedom, Nadya is right. Church, where are you? God does not call us to observe from the safety of our walls. His mandate is to get on our knees in prayer and to fill the streets with voices that tell the story of truth and justice.

The story goes something like this, ‘Once upon a time, there was a Baby born who would birth a revolution of the soul and the redemption of His creation. His name is Jesus.’

On the eve of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, live the story.

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