On September 28, 1943, in Nazi occupied Denmark, something amazing happened. Orders came from Berlin to arrest all 8,000 Jews living in Denmark and send them to concentration camps in mainland Europe. The plan was to begin on the night of October 1st and to round up every Jewish person in the country within 48 hours. Werner Best (the Nazi leader in Denmark) leaked the plan to a confidant, who told Danish leaders.
What happened next was a demonstration of what happens when good people who believe in the sanctity of human life DO SOMETHING. Danes did not just do something however; they risked their very lives because their worldview said that human beings have value as made in the image of the living God.
Christians and ordinary people began offering the keys to their homes to Jewish strangers on the street. They hid Jews in attics, churches, country homes and they even hid 1000 in Copenhagen hospitals. Hans Fuglsang-Damgaard, the Bishop of Copenhagen, issued a defiant ecumenical letter, which was read in almost every church in the nation. After negotiations with Danish leaders such as physicist Niels Bohr, Sweden announced it would accept refugees.
The Germans only found 284 Jews out of 8000. Within weeks, Danes smuggled almost 95% of all the Danish Jews to safety in Sweden.
Six years ago, 38 leaders gathered in Little Rock, as those who treasure the value and sanctity of life, to deal with a similar emergency. They met to ask the question, “How can the Church be the hands and feet of Christ to orphans, most of whom are threatened by evil forces far greater than perhaps than even the Jews of Denmark?”
This week, over 1000 people will gather in Minneapolis for Summit VI, to consider how God might use them as The Body to lay their churches, organizations and lives on the line for perhaps the largest unreached people group in the world. Because of the magnitude and reach of The Church (through the Local Church), the potential for rescue and hope is staggering. The opportunities for the Gospel and the Glory of God revealed in orphan ministry are breathtaking. But unless we understand that Faith without Action is not living faith, we will have missed the opportunity. If you are coming to Summit VI….pray for the filling of the Spirit that you will learn God’s invitation for you in this emergency to join Him and step forward just like the Christians of Denmark in 1943. For those not attending Summit IV, won’t you take time to ask God how He wants to use you to reach and serve the least of these among us?
One of my favorite parts of the Danish Solution story, is how on the night before the round up, Lutheran ministers, knowing the greatest treasures of the Rabbis were their Torahs, came to them and offered help. Rabbis and Followers of Christ, their arms full of Torahs, walked in the middle of the night through the dark streets of Copenhagen and hid those scriptures in the alters of Lutheran Churches. These Christians, who put their lives and money where their mouths were, then led these men and their families to safe places.
Grace is usually not convenient but when we lose ourselves in loving those who have nothing to give us in return, we experience the reality of Yeshua Mashiah…Jesus the Messiah.