I wasn’t going to answer the door. I should have ignored it.
My sermon is usually put to bed by Saturday night, but this particular week I was lazy, so I was in my office banging away on the computer when I should have been watching Hockey Night in Canada.
Maybe I was being punished for my sloth.
I answered the door.
“We want to talk about God,” they said. Two young men. One dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. The other in what I can only describe as a long, dress-like, shirt with matching beige coloured pants and sandals.
“Boy, the fish are jumping right in the boat,” I thought to myself.
I invited them to my office and they sat down. They got right to the point.
“What do you believe about God?” one of them asked, demandingly.
I was taken aback. I stammered a bit. How does one sum up Christianity in a few sentences?
“We believe that God, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, died on the cross and rose again three days later. And that we are joined to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection through what we call ‘Holy Baptism.’ And because of this we our sins have been forgiven, and God has promised us new and everlasting life.”
A quick answer. They were unimpressed.
“You also believe in the Holy Spirit?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “We believe the Holy Spirit is the power of the Risen Jesus alive in us and in the world.”
I mentally patted myself on the back for such a succinct answer. But it was clear that they weren’t buying it.
“So, you believe in three gods?” he asked.
“No, we believe in One God, three Persons.”
“What’s the difference?” he asked, his voice rising.
“Think of H20, it is liquid, steam, and ice. Three different expressions of the same substance,” I said, knowing how oversimplified my answer was.
He rose from his chair and yelled with his index finger pointing heavenward, “There is not three gods, there is only one God, and his name is Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. The Koran is God’s Holy revelation to mankind!”
Whoa! You guys didn’t tell me you were Muslims (although I suspected as much).
“You do not have the authority to forgive sins!,” he blasted, “You do not need priests to mediate between God and man…!”
“How about between God and women?” I thought to myself, “And who said anything about priests? This is a LUTHERAN church. Do your homework, buddy, if you’re going to come in here and start accusing me of things.”
“You don’t need phony rituals like baptism and communion! All you need is to get down on your knees and BEG Allah for forgiveness and turn your life towards him!”
Phony rituals? Baptism and communion? He obviously came with a prepared speech.
His sidekick chimed in. He had a softer tone, clearly the good cop to his friend’s bad cop. “It’s not that we’re trying to convert you,” he said, “We just want to have a conversation.”
“This 'conversation' is over,” I said ushering them to the door. And as they were leaving, the loud one turned to me and said, “You’ve been given Allah’s message from not ONE, but TWO Muslims. You need to turn your life over to the true God NOW, before it’s too late. You could die tonight on the way home, and if you don't repent, you will find yourself in damnation.”
Was that a threat?
“Please leave,” I said...(whole thing here)