My sermon on Sunday focused on the centrality of the church's worship to the mission of God in the world. The Bible is filled with examples that show the effectiveness of worship, prayer, and singing in overcoming evil spirits, initiating widespread revival, toppling city walls, and routing foreign armies. But this is not simply a phenomenon restricted to the pages of Scripture. Although modern history books intentionally omit this crucial fact, the fall of the USSR was due in large part to public singing. That's right, massive groups of people uniting their voices as one. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania secured their independence from the USSR through a "Singing Revolution". There is a documentary about this amazing event, and you can watch the trailer here. A very brief documentary overview can be viewed here.
One of the key lessons from the Baltic Revolution is that you can only fight a culture war if you have a culture to fight with. The only way to overcome or transform one culture is to have a more powerful culture to replace it with. Many of the Baltic peoples were driven by a patriotic love of their own heritage and culture. Many Lithuanians were driven by their shared Roman Catholic faith and culture. The key is that they had a shared a culture that they loved and were willing to die for. I hope to develop this idea further on Sunday as it relates to the church's calling to be salt and light in order to transform the cultures of this world.