Friday, December 5, 2008

Brother Yun at Denver Seminary, September 23, 2008

It was an amazing evening. The Seminary Chapel was packed out. People were standing around the walls and sitting outside the doors. This was not a Denver Seminary crowd (although a number of students and quite a few Asians from the Seminary were in attendance). A group of young people were sitting near us; the young woman next to me said she had read The Heavenly Man twice. I told her that my niece (from whom we had first learned about Brother Yun) so wished that she could be here, that it would be like meeting Jesus or one of his disciples. “Oh, Yes!!” the young woman exclaimed excitedly. She and the others with her were part of a group from a large church in Colorado Springs who had visited China. She was so encouraged that so many had turned out for the event. “God has saved 7,000 for himself,” she declared, her eyes glowing with joy. I piped up, “Yes, like God said to Elijah.”

The room was not just full of people, it was full of the Holy Spirit. I thought to myself, “I never would have believed it possible!” It has been more years than I can remember since I’ve known such a powerful sense of the Spirit’s presence. But I should not limit God so. If Brother Yun had one central theme, it was that Jesus is alive and will do whatever he pleases to do. Mighty miracles are an easy thing for the Lord to do, and when he determines to do a thing, he does it.

Well no, that was not the central theme. Another theme was also central to his message, namely, that we absolutely must have wholehearted, unconditional love for, and trust in, the Lord Jesus. No matter what.

The best part of the evening for me was when Brother Yun recounted a time he was imprisoned and had been tortured and very badly beaten. He had been taken back to his cell and he lay there, wanting to die. The guard taunted him, saying he was crazy and would never get out of there alive (which certainly looked to be the case). Then the Lord brought to Yun’s mind a verse from Scripture (I forget what it was), and he was heartened and emboldened by this truth of God’s Word. So he determined that he would defy the guards and his circumstances and commence to praise the Lord. They thought he was crazy? So, he would act crazy! He began to sing Psalm 63 as loudly as he could. And at that point in his talk, Yun commenced to do just that. The translator was quiet as Yun sang through the whole psalm. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was just pouring out his heart before the Lord, as though he were back in that prison cell. There was no sense of self consciousness. He was not trying to impress anyone. He had no singing voice to speak of. But oh, it was beautiful. It was like stepping into the anteroom of heaven.

Both Brother Yun (which is pronounced somewhere between yun and yoon) and his translator (a middle-aged Finnish man, who also had been imprisoned in China), were so patently earnest, real, and zealous for the Lord. It was obvious that they didn’t just talk the talk, as they say. Their testimony was the real thing. It was Paul and Peter and Jesus. For two hours the audience was riveted to the podium. I found all this spiritual reality wonderful, but also rather difficult to bear, and I couldn’t help weeping slightly throughout the whole time (used up quite a few tissues blowing and blotting). I felt quite silly, when I stopped to think about it, which wasn’t often.

You don’t need power point and anecdotes and endless references to American popular culture, you don’t need to limit the length of the message to 30 minutes lest people lose interest, you don’t need loud music with subwoofers and proudly prancing “worship” leaders on stage. You don’t need any of that, if you can just have the presence of the Holy Spirit. And his presence in fullness is possible only when the Word of God abides in hearts that are sold out to Jesus, live or die, come hell or high water.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wept, very much, when I read The Heavenly Man; some years ago...
sad to read of the slander he has had to endure since - but a servant is no greater than his Master - and I pray that comforts him - that he follows in his Master's footsteps, even in that.
Thank you for sharing this, even though I come to it some years later.
I have appreciated your writings elsewhere also.