This happy looking gent is Count Zinzendorf. Just recently I have discovered that this long-dead German aristocrat has been stalking me for a few years... Well, maybe not, but I am becoming aware of his influence. Back in July 1999 I visited the Czech Republic, mostly in the Moravian area. We came across a statue in tribute to the Moravian Church which despite depicting a man holding a Bible overhead, survived many years of a Communist political system. Read a very ill-informed blog and see a photo here.
When i wrote this entry earlier this year, I had no idea that i would actually be spending a day and a night in Zinzendorf's village, a place called Herrnhut, the site of the hundred and twenty odd years of non-stop prayer I alluded to, and the inspiration of the 24-7 prayer movement I also alluded to (without any real knowledge about either) .
Herrnhut is a very nice little village in the sth east corner of Germany within sight of the Czech Republic and Poland. Young Count Zinzendorf allowed Moravians who were being persecuted in their own country to settle here in the 1720's, and the village they built has a significant place in Church history, history that is still being written.
And then a few weeks ago my friend Daniela in Berlin suggested I read a book called Red Moon Rising by Peter Greig. I popped into Word Bookstore on my way to ACC at Box Hill Salvos (see my blog of Sept 29 - easy to find, it's only two blogs back...), but I didn't spot it on the shelves there. Probably they had it but I didn't bother asking.
The next day at ACC, Major Brendan Nottle from Melbourne 614 got up to do his annual rant on the state of the Army (not to be missed!) and in the middle of it read out something called the Vision which challenged us all. Actually had lunch with Brendan just after that, he introduced me to John Cleary (ABC Radio Religion journo and Salvo historian who also joined us) as his star Face Painter, I had my first go at Face Painting at the Rugby World Cup in Brendan's team, and it was in some ways through that I went to Germany to the football World Cup to paint faces and found myself for a day in Herrnhut. (incidentally football first came to Germany with English students who wanted to study under the Moravians IN Herrnhut! Herrnhut, the birthplace of German Football!!! True!! And I was there during the German World Cup!!! How cool is that!! Didn't get to any games, but saw the birthplace which few people knew about - even the Moravians themselves till the Football Assoc pointed it out.)
Anyway, I digress. Somehow, during the next week I discover that the Vision was also written by Pete Greig, and now I had to get his book! I picked it up the following Saturday at Koorong Books on my way to play cricket (first game of the season and we won! yay us!). That night, co-incidentally a red moon DID rise, it was the full Harvest moon, and it seemed to reinforce that I really had to read the book.
So what is Red Moon Rising all about? It's the story of the beginning of the 24-7 Prayer movement (previously alluded to), and how did it start? Where did the idea come from? Pete Greig was touring around Europe, and en-route to the Czech Republic from Germany found himself in Herrnhut, and discovering Zinzendorf. Greig tried 24-7 prayer out in his church in England and the results were impressive. Others tried it too and now the 24-7 prayer thing is all over the World, and the Salvation Army is quite a big part of it. Greig helped launch a German branch of 24-7 prayer by taking a bunch of young Dresden Goth Christians to Herrnhut and I would've loved to have been there for that!
After reading the book (it took only three days) I loaned it to Danny, my officer (minister/pastor guy to non-Salvos) as I know that Prayer is his thing. He has only read the first 40 pages but has already put it into his top ten Christian books, and this morning preached a bit on the Order of the Mustard Seed, in 1715, aged just 15, Zinzendorf and 4 friends first formed the group which became the Order of the Mustard Seed. And there is another thing that Zinzendorf started so long ago and is now experiencing a re-birth. The basis of the OMS? True to Christ, Kind to People, Gospel to the Nations.
So, what has all this got to do with me? Dunno, maybe God is saying I should pray more...
Or should I stop looking for these silly little co-incidences that pop up? What do you think?