Saturday sermon with Rev Diane Ledwick: The Act of Surrender, a Universal language - Part 1

APRIL 15, 2016

There are certain words that are universal, they are known in every language. They are understood by different people of different cultures in all countries around the world. One of these words is ‘Coca-Cola’.

No matter which foreign country you may be in and no matter if you do not speak or understand the language and no matter if no-one understands you, all you have to say is ‘Coca-Cola’ and everyone knows exactly what you mean and what you want.

Years ago when I was in France, my friend and I were trying to buy a rail ticket at a local train station for Euro Disney in Paris. Nobody would help us, as soon as we started to speak English they made gestures with their hands that told us to go-away.

And they all made out as if they couldn’t understand us. Eventually we tried the only ‘foreign’ language that we both knew. Foreign to a French speaking person, that is. So we spoke in Afrikaans, one of the official South African languages.

I had thought that English was quite universal, but obviously not in France. Afrikaans is similar sounding to Dutch and to my knowledge originates from the Dutch tongue, and perhaps in a small way it is similar sounding to bits of German. Immediately we were helped and believe it or not, miraculously understood.

There is something else that is universal, not a word but rather an action. No matter where you go, if you do this people will know exactly what you are doing, they will know exactly what you mean and they will know exactly what you are saying albeit silently.

And it is simply this, standing with your arms raised up high in the air. It is the universal language for Surrender. I can thankfully say that the only place I have had to surrender, is in a game or as a bit of fun.

Raised arms represent a state of surrender no matter where you are. It means. ‘I’m helpless’ or ‘I’ve put down my gun’ or ‘I’ve put my knife down’ or ‘I give up’. And everyone will understand us. We won’t have to sign it in French or Afrikaans for that matter. Here is a very important key, when we surrender we have victory.

When we are not in a mode of surrender, the enemy will always have the upper hand. In Genesis 2v2 we read that when God had finished with creation that He rested on the seventh day.

Rested from what? All His work, but in order for Him to rest he had to stop all His work, He had to be satisfied that it was over, He had to give up or surrender His actions of creating.

This is exactly how we enter into the rest of God. We have to surrender or give up all our own actions and efforts. As long as we do not then the enemy will have the victory in our lives.

In the film ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’, there is a battle taking place between the Christians and the Muslims for Jerusalem. It is set during the height of the Christian European Crusades.

The principal character in the film is a man named Balian and he becomes known as the defender of Jerusalem. Towards the end of the film Jerusalem is basically lost to the Muslim leader Saladin, so Balian comes out to meet him to discuss terms. And this is what Saladin says to Balian, ‘Will you surrender Jerusalem?’ and Balian replies, ‘I will surrender Jerusalem’. But he didn’t really want to because Jerusalem was everything to him and to the people, nevertheless he did what he had to in order to save the lives of all who dwelled in Jerusalem.

See Part 2 next week Saturday.