Yesterday was Freedom Day here in Portugal, as we celebrated the anniversary of the “quiet revolution” that took place in Lisbon on April 25, 1974. It was a revolt begun by army officers that quickly turned into a popular uprising. Jubilant crowds joined the military and, in an almost bloodless rebellion, managed to bring down Europe’s longest-lived dictatorship in less than twenty-four hours, thus restoring democracy. It was a coup like no other, often considered the most original revolution of the twentieth century.
As I meditated on these events of days gone by and the sense of hope they brought to the Portuguese people, my mind drifted to years much further back in history and to the ultimate revolutionary – Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah – who also led a somewhat “quiet” revolution, a coup like no other, overthrowing the enemy of our soul’s attempt at a dictatorship, bringing us hope for new life. He held no great political rallies, did not enlist the support of the military and made no attempt to woo the masses. He stopped for each one that crossed His path, speaking words of life, loving and living the truth, challenging corruption, freeing the captives, healing the sick, obeying His Father.
I hesitate to even compare these two revolutions, so powerful was the outcome of the latter that those who continue to embrace its magnificent victory and awesome leader, at a distance of more than two thousand years, continue to walk in hope and to experience new life and redemptive power. They need never be enslaved again. Quite the contrary, our beloved Portuguese brothers and sisters, live today, once again, in a corrupt society often characterized by hopelessness, disappointment and disillusionment. A revolution can only do so much when it’s led by mortal men, driven by hope in humanity.
We are called to be revolutionaries, you and I.
Like our brother Jesus, we who know Him and have submitted our lives to Him carry the seeds of brand new life, the message of true hope. We drink from a fountain whose waters never run dry, that gives life to the dying, strength to the weary, healing to the broken. Yet so often, though we carry these waters in infinite supply, we fail to even take notice of the thirsty who walk beside us. We desist from sharing the Truth, the very Bread of Life, with the starving who we meet every day.
“I’m not a leader.” “I’m no one special.” “I’m no evangelist, no teacher or preacher or miracle-worker.” It’s true: those who we often look up to and compare ourselves to are the “loud” revolutionaries, the outspoken leaders, those who by nature of their personality and calling make themselves heard and easily garner our attention and admiration (or sometimes, our disappointment and disgust). But we are all called to be revolutionaries – and though we may be “quiet” revolutionaries, we can nonetheless be world-changers.
Each morning, when I wake up, I set out to change the world – not by my own charm or might or strength of will – but by the grace of God working in me and because I carry His incredible Holy Spirit. Everywhere I go, I am conscious that because I am the light of the world, the salt of the earth – because of Jesus’ incredible sacrifice and revolutionary victory on my behalf – I can make a difference.
The stressed cashier at the grocery store, the mom struggling to open a door while pushing her child’s stroller, the young man sitting alone on a park bench, the angry driver who cuts me off: each one presents me with an opportunity to shine, to share a smile, a word of truth, a kind gesture, a listening ear, an offer to pray. To be Jesus in a world full of brokenness.
I choose each day to be a revolutionary and though most of the time I may be considered a “quiet” revolutionary, I am changing the world one word of truth, one act of kindness, one prayer for the hurting at a time.
Jesus loves me and indeed died for me… and for every person I meet, each one that you meet, every moment of every day. I am daily given the choice, and so are you, to look outside of myself and break free of my inward-focused thinking and living. To extend love and words of life to the hungry, living water to the thirsty. To be a part of a coup like no other, where evil is overthrown and life triumphs!
We are the revolutionaries – whether quiet and less noticeable or loud and visible.
Let us rise up! Let us share the Truth!
“For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but to save the world