July 6th marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus. Hus was burnt at the stake in Constance, Germany on July 6, 1415 as a heretic.
The worldwide Moravian church traces its ancestry back to Hus and the reforms that he sought for the Bohemian and Moravian people in and around the city of Prague. The worldwide Unitas Fratrum celebrates the little reformation he began 100 years before Martin Luther’s bigger Reformation. If we would have gathered for worship yesterday, the congregation would have heard me cite Communion in both kinds, preaching and Scripture in the language of the people, opposition to the sale of indulgences, congregational singing, etc. They form the core of Hus’s heresy.
I won’t bore you with the history of his trial and martyrdom. Others have given countless pages to twists and turns of Hus’s story. Suffice it to say that unless you are a Moravian or a Czech, the history will bore you.
Jan Hus spoke up. His colleagues tried to silence him. The Church tried to silence him. Ultimately, Hus spoke up against the abuses of the Church. Hus spoke up for Truth. Hus spoke up for what he believed to be right. The Council produced thirty-nine articles against him and asked him to recant. He would not.
I value Hus’s voice. I value his courage. I value his willingness to put himself at risk.
A small group of protestors congregates at the corner of Bayshore Dr. and Mill Rd. They continue to advocate against racial injustice. I admire their voice, their courage, their risk. I enthusiastically honk my horn and flash them a ‘peace’ sign every time I drive past.
I wonder, if pressed, if cornered, if put in Hus’s position, would I speak up? Would I use my voice and platform to condemn abuse and injustice? Would I be willing to sacrifice position, security, and life for the sake of Truth…even just my little truth? More still, would I speak up with my whole life, my whole being, my whole witness and experience for the sake of another?
At my core, I am a coward. When pressed, I revert to silence. When cornered, I opt for avoidance. When put in Hus’s position to speak up or stand down, I have stood down far more often than I have spoken up.
I need to change that in me. I don’t know about you, but I need to change that in me.
I love you.
I need you.
I hope for you.
Please be safe.