Monday, October 1, 2012

Standing for the Cause

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I wonder if I ever came face to face with a real life choice to stand for what is right or die, if I would have the courage to stand. I mean in my mind of course I not only stand, I go all Rambo on my enemy, save the day, and give Glory to God in the process. In my daydream not only do I win but God wins!

I wonder if that would be the case though, if I came face to face with a direct question about my faith or my family or my country that was backed up by a gun.

On one of my trips to Kiev, Ukraine I had a chance to visit a soccer stadium that is home to a very popular Ukrainian soccer team called Kiev Dynamo. Dynamo has a very interesting history that has inspired lots of stories, books and even a movie with Sylvester Stallone (Rambo himself). As I gazed at the stadium, and remembered the story that is told about the 1942 Dynamo team, I remembered another place I visited in Kiev (Babyn Yar – which is where 100,000 Jews were executed and dumped into a mass grave by the Nazis). I wondered again if I was faced with the choice to stand for what’s right or die if I would have the courage to stand.

The excerpt from this article will set the context, it’s called:
Dynamo versus Germany: Soccer Match of Death
By Andrew Gregorovich

The incredible story of the Dynamo soccer club of Kiev, one of Europe's finest, is one of the legendary events of WW II. After Kiev was occupied members of the Dynamo team found work in Kiev Bakery No. 1 and started to play soccer in an empty lot. The Germans offered them the opportunity to train in the Zenith Stadium and then suggested a "friendly" game with a team picked from the German army.
The Ukrainians accepted the offer, named their team Start and posters on June 12, 1942 announced: "Football [Soccer]. Armed Forces of Germany versus Kiev city Start." The Germans, in good physical shape, scored the first goal. Then Dynamo gained its strength and scored a goal. The old talent of Dynamo started to grow and they scored a second goal to the enthusiastic cheers of the Ukrainian spectators. The Germans were furious.

At half time a German officer came from the Commandant's box to the Dynamo dressing room and ordered them "not to play so keenly" and threatened that they would be shot if they do not obey.

The fans, completely unaware that the lives of Dynamo were threatened, cheered them on to a score of 4-1 when suddenly the German Commandant of Kiev, Major-General Eberhardt, and his staff left.

The referee's whistle ended the game before it was finished.

The Germans then fielded a stronger team on July 17 but it lost 6-0. Two days later Dynamo had a match with the Hungarian team MSG Wal and Dynamo defeated them 5-1 and a rematch on the 26th ended with a score 3-2 for Dynamo. The German administration was outraged and decided that they had to teach the Dynamo Untermensch a lesson. The powerful and "ever victorious" German Flakelf team was invited. But this German team also lost to Dynamo and not a word about it appeared in the newspapers.

The Ukrainian team was given three days to think about their position and on August 9th there was a "friendly" rematch. In spite of the pressure Dynamo again in its fifth game defeated the German team -- for the last time. Most of the Ukrainian team members were arrested and executed in Babyn Yar, but they are not forgotten. There is a monument to them in Kiev and their heroism inspired the film Victory starring Sylvester Stallone and Pele.

Now I think we would all agree that, that kind of stand takes courage, there’s no doubt about that! I just wonder if I would have that kind of courage to stand for God if really put to the test. I mean Columbine’s Cassie Bernall kind of courage.

The reality is that questions like “Do you believe in God?” backed with an ultimatum are more and more prevalent today in the world in which we live.

The legend of Kiev Dynamo is an incredible story of bravery and courage, and as I stood there taking it all in (especially after I realized what Babyn Yar was all about) I was moved to pray for the families of those players who took a stand against the Nazi’s 70 years ago.

Their stand brought them a victory on the field, and became the stuff of legends in the world of Soccer, but the reality is when this life is over the trophy they won stays here…
My mind then went to the thousands of martyrs who have stood and lost their lives for the cause of Christ, and I could not help but rejoice that their sacrifice is not in vain, because God is in the eternal reward game.
Their faith for THE CAUSE will be used of God to expand His Kingdom, which is a cause worth standing for.

Kiev Dynamo inspired me for sure, and I can only hope to have that kind of courage in the face of challenge…my prayer is that whatever God allows to come my way that He and only He would get the glory!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brent,

    Thanks for the updates. I still love hearing about all of the things God is doing through you.