21 Oct “And Now They Are No More”… a Pastor from Baghdad Brings Joy Despite His Sorrow

A recent chapel deeply impacted my life.  No lie.

Dr. Canon Andrew White, AKA “The Vicar of Baghdad,” arrived.  And what he shared with our middle schoolers left me speechless:

“When people hurt my loved ones–those are the hardest times.  Seven days ago some men confronted a group of Christian children from my school in Iraq.  When they told the boys and girls, ‘You need to promise that you will not follow Jesus,’ the young ones answered,‘But we have always loved Jesus, and we always will.’ 
And now those children are no more.”

Little ones.
Killed for their faith.
Gone on to Glory far too young.

As you can imagine, it was blessedly hard to return to work after hearing such things.

White is a big man (’bout 6’4″, 240 lbs), but it wasn’t his size that struck me.

His grip, despite his diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, is surprisingly strong, but it was not his blend of physical power and weakness that made an impression.

He easily and joyfully engaged his audience, but his affable personality wasn’t what stuck with me.

To be sure, his tales of serving Christ in a place of constant, mortal danger were memorable, but even they weren’t what touched my soul.

What really stood out was a moment–just a blink in time, really–that happened after all the middle schoolers were dismissed.

I knelt next to White’s chair and shared, “It is so good that you came today.  We needed to hear your encouragement to ‘take risks.’  Lighthouse is experiencing some pushback… and we need to be reminded to keep doing the right things, rather than the easy things.”

He didn’t say a word.
He simply gazed at me in silence–with Christ’s love in his eyes.

Coulda sworn I saw our Savior’s deep blend of peace and Heaven-sent power there.
And I felt true solace.

It’s not that the Vicar of Baghdad is a great man.
It’s that he knows the “Son of Man.”

“Your eyes are windows into your body.  If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.”
Matthew 6:22 (MSG)