The word for “cord” in v.21 is tiqwa in Hebrew, which means “hope.”
Rahab was a Canaanite, but she put her hope in the living God, just as her daughter-in-law, Ruth from Moab, did later. Both of these women of faith overcame stigma and cultural barriers to become carriers of hope and faith in the line of Jesus.
The scarlet cord still offers hope.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are reminded of a significant promise: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
At the gathering, the Lithuanian church leaders identified the sins of their nation, which had grieved God. They acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by Lithuanians during the Second World War. Although the post-war generation had claimed that Nazis did all the killing, recent historical evidence points to the Lithuanians themselves as the ones with bloodguilt.
Arturas, our Lithuanian MB conference moderator, then recalled a private conversation that his grandmother had with a Jewish neighbor during the Second World War. The neighbor said, “Today, you Lithuanians are killing Jews, but tomorrow you will kill yourselves.” It was a haunting prediction. Today, Lithuania has one of the highest suicide rates in the world – despite massive financial investment by the European Union to improve their standard of living.
These church leaders humbled themselves, prayed and called out to God for his forgiveness and the healing of their nation. They sought out a prominent leader of the Lithuanian Jewish community and met with him at a huge Jewish graveyard that had been desecrated and abandoned for seventy years. As we gathered there together, we pleaded for God’s forgiveness and the healing of the land and its people. The cleansing power of Christ’s blood is greater than any sin.
That scarlet cord can hold the weight of Lithuania’s troubles and those of every other nation. What about in our nations? What national sins are holding back the outpouring of God’s salvation? When we align our hearts with One Mission, we are invited to think beyond our own tribe to the land we share with many tribes. In Canada, the bloodguilt from the mistreatment of the First Nations prompted a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission which exposed the brutality of many church-run residential schools for aboriginal children across the country in 1876-1996. Church and government leaders have begun to repent and make attempts at reparation. But this work of healing continues.
In the US, there has been a similar story with many forcible relocations of thousands of Native Americans. This “trail of tears” involved death, disease and loss of identity. The healing of our nations and the spiritual awakening of our nations are connected.
As we engage together in One Mission – local, national and global, we view our community and our nation as a mission field. God desires to heal and transform our nations as we work together with him on his mission of redemption and transformation. The blood of Christ, symbolized by that scarlet cord of hope, is still enough for us today. As we humble ourselves and confess our corporate sins, we point our nations to Christ – the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and “hope of the nations” (Romans 15:12).
More than ever, we’re excited about what God is doing among the nations, not only around the world but also in North America. We’re grateful for the growth of the MB-based church-planting network called C2C. After years of fruitful ministry in Canada, C2C is now partnering with USMB leadership and beginning to work hard for one mission collaboration. As the least reached have come to our cities and communities, together we are called to “give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give a reason for the hope that [we] have” (1 Peter 3:15).
In this edition of Witness, we are sharing stories of transformation that I hope will inspire you and convince you of God’s heart for nations. Thank you again for your support and prayers as we live on mission together.