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Coolest Story in Christian History?
July 27, 2021
Bohemian reformer Jan Hus (also John Huss or Johannes Hus) was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415 as ordered by Roman Catholic bishop Giacomo Balardi Arrigoni. In 1420, Pope Martin V authorized the execution of all of his followers.
Scattered bands of Hussites fled to Moravia or hid in Bohemia. They managed to survive, in and out of persecution for 300 years.
Around 1720, THREE CENTURIES LATER, some Moravian Hussites appeared in court, banished from the land of one more Lord. They complained to the judge that there was nowhere left to go. They did not have the ability to leave planet Earth. A count named Zinzendorf saw their plight and invited them onto his land.
Zinzendorf and these Hussites became known as "The Moravian Brethren." There are multiple YouTube videos and even documentaries on these amazing people, but here are the highlights.
In 1727, their members signed up for one-hour prayer shifts in the tower of their Herrnhut community. (Herrnhut means "the Lord's yard.") These shifts covered all 24 hours of the day and lasted for ONE HUNDRED YEARS! Yes, the Moravian Brethren had a century-long prayer meeting in a tower in Germany.
During that time, the Moravians sent more than 300 MISSIONARIES all over the world. The first of them went to the West Indies. When he had trouble reaching the natives because he was white and the slave owners because they were evil, HE SOLD HIMSELF INTO SLAVERY, so the natives would open up to him.
In 1736, some Moravians were returning from America to Europe. On the same ship were John and Charles Wesley, also returning from a mission to America. A storm struck them, and the Wesleys were terrified. Oddly, this other group, unknown to the Wesleys, were not. Instead, they calmly sang hymns throughout the storm. When the Wesleys asked, they heard the Gospel of faith in Christ for the first time.
You might enjoy the West Virginia Baptist Conventions report of this trip at https://www.wvbc.org/news/john-wesley-meets-the-moravians/
It was the Wesleys first encounter with the Moravians, but not the last.
On May 24, 1738, John Wesley attended a Bible study, put on by the Moravians, and this happened:
"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death." (The Journal of John Wesley, https://biblehub.com/library/wesley/the_journal_of_john_wesley/i_felt_my_heart_strangely.htm)
It is very likely that Jan Hus foresaw none of these things when he was sentenced to death in 1415. It is very likely that his persecuted bands of followers did not expect to survive for centuries. God, however, foresaw it all, and he left us with incredible encouragement for our own endeavors.
Not long ago, a missionary and a leader in the movement he is part of wrote me to tell me that it was a little bookstore in Germany that spurred him on his way to the devoted life he lives today. That bookstore was mine. I had brief discussions with him and his wife in the late 1980's, but over the last 30 years, I did not know I had played any role in his life.
I encourage you to simply be faithful. Faithfulness is what God asks of stewards like you and me (1 Cor. 4:2). None of us can imagine what our little faithful deeds might accomplish by the will and power of God over the centuries.
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