Sunday, 21 September 2014
This symbol has gone from a mark of destruction for Christians living in Mosul in southern Iraq to a badge of solidarity by Christians elsewhere highlighting the persecution and killings by the Islamic State Army.
The sign is in fact the 14 th. Letter of the Arabic alphabet equivalent to our letter N, the first letter of NASARA or Nazarene the term by which Christians are called by Muslims. The IS Army scrawled this letter on dwellings occupied by Christians and then threatened the inhabitants to convert to Islam or be killed!
The term intended as a mark of shame by IS but has been taken up by Believers all around the world who are standing up in solidarity with their persecuted brothers and sisters.
'VOICE OF THE PREACHER'
Billy Graham has had many high-profile friends over the years, and among them is U2 frontman and international rockstar Bono.
Bono is open about his Christian faith, frequently speaking on the importance of God in his life and incorporating spiritually-theme lyrics into his songs. And based on a poem the soinger wrote to Billy Grahamback in 2002, it seems the American evangelical leader has played a important role in Bono's life
The hand-written poem, which is on display at the Billy Graham Library in North Carolina, refers to "the voice of a preacher/loudly soft on my tears" which was the "lyric voice that gave my life/A Rhyme/a meaning that wasn’t there before."
Bono composed the poem in 2002 after visiting Billy and Ruth Graham at their home in western North Carolina. Several years later he teamed up with pop singer Pat Boone and other musicians to record "Thank You Billy Graham" as a tribute to the preacher.
I give thanks just for the sanity of Billy Graham," Bono says in the tribute's intro. "That clear, empathetic voice of his, in that southern accent, part poet, part preacher. A singer of the human spirit, I'd say."
Sojourners writer Cathleen Falsani spooke with Bono in 2015 on his friendship with Billy Graham and the surprise phone call the musician received in 2002 from the preacher's office. Graham, as it turned out, wished to give Bono and his teammates a blessing.
“I told [my bandmates], I said, ‘This is a big deal. This is BILLY GRAHAM!’ And they all said, ‘That’s great. But we’re in the middle of a tour.’ So I rented a plane and flew there right away in case he might forget. I was picked up by his son, Franklin, and driven a couple of hours up to their house. I met briefly with himself and his wife, Ruth. I think I’ve mentioned to you before that the blessings of an older man mean a great deal to me. Particularly this man. I gave him a book of Seamus Heaney poetry, and I wrote a poem for him in it."
Transcript of Bono’s poem to the Grahams:
The journey from Father to friend
is all paternal loves end
It was sung in my teenage ears
In the voice of a preacher
loudly soft on my tears
I would never forget this
Or its lyric voice that gave my life
a meaning that wasn’t there before
a child born in dung and straw
wish the Father’s love and desire to explain
how we might get on with each other again…
To the Rev Billy Graham (that preacher) Ruth and all the Graham family From Bono (March 11 2002) With much love and respect.