Marcel Marceau, the famed French entertainer of the early 20th century, was best known for his pantomime, bringing his silent character, Bip the Clown, to stages around the world for over 6 decades. He referred to his miming as “the art of silence.”
Few, however, know him for his heroism during the Nazi occupation of France.
Recruited to help the French Resistance by his cousin, Georges Loinger, he became part of the ultra-secret unit called the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Relief Work), a Jewish relief group that smuggled Jewish children from occupied France to neutral countries. Their mission was to evacuate Jewish children who had been hiding in a French orphanage and get them to the Swiss border.
“But traveling with large groups of children was anything but easy. Marceau had a secret weapon: His training as a mime,” reports History.lcom.
“The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him,” his cousin, Loinger reminesced to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. “He had already begun doing performances in the orphanage … The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border, and Marcel really put them at ease.” …
"He mimed “to keep children quiet as they were escaping,” remembered another.
At times, he posed as a Boy Scout leader taking groups of boys on nature outings (which just happened to find them hiking near the Swiss border!). On one occasion, he was confronted by German troops, at which time he tapped into his acting talents, pretended to be a French Army commander, and demanded that the German troops surrender to him immediately. And they did! All 30 of them!
In all, Marceau rescued over 70 children, while his cousin Loinger rescued more than 350.
He could not, however, save his own father, who was executed while imprisoned at Auschwitz.
Marcel's heroic actions bring to mind the famed quote oft attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”
While it might be possible to lead a band of children to a safer border without words, words are essential in order to bring the saving message of the Cross to the world.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:4, NIV).
"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV).
Randall Lance Hughes, 48, was tazed by Waco police after drawing a knife. When the tazer had no affect, the Waco Police Department wrote in a Facebook post, "Our officers were forced to discharge their weapons in defense of their lives."
What was so important that Mr. Lance was willing to face down the police? Unless you happen to be a Texan, the answer might seem a bit strange to you. He was stealing a brisket! With the rising price of meat, a black market for brisket has emerged in Texas. Thefts have been reported in 19 H-E-B food stores, and thieves are selling the stolen briskets to local barbecue vendors.
One blogger wrote in response to the police incident, "To all you out of state invaders: This is Texas where we take our brisket seriously, stealing it is akin to stealing cattle. I propose a law to make BBQ theft punishable by public hanging, of course it should be at 1:00 PM, after a BBQ plate lunch is provided to the crowd."
Apparently, Randall Lance Hughes was willing to risk it all for a brisket! Are you willing to risk it all for something that really matters? How about risking your friendships, your relationships in order to share the Gospel message with those you know and love.
Granted, you probably won’t be shot for mentioning Jesus to your friends. Nevertheless, there is a risk and many shrink from it.
“So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen” (2 Timothy 2:10).
The Cheyenne Indians of the 1800s, living on the Great Plains of the United States, had six warrior societies. Perhaps the greatest of these was known as the Dog Soldiers. English journalist Henry Stanley, upon viewing them, described the Dog Soldiers as the "Spartans of the plains." Each one wore a sash around his waist, called a dog rope, with a picket pin at the end. This picket pin was a pointed stake, typically tied to the end of a rope, that could be driven into the ground to tether a horse, which could then graze but not wander off.
In the case of the Dog Soldiers,
The pin was driven into the ground as a mark of resolve in combat. When a Dog Soldier was staked to the ground in order to cover the retreat of his companions, he was required to remain there even if death was the consequence. The Dog Man could pull the pin from the ground only if his companions reached safety or another Dog Soldier released him from his duty. (Richard S. Grimes, "Cheyenne Dog Soldiers" )
Try to imagine being a Dog Soldier. The tribe is under attack by a strong enemy, and the battle has turned against it. Everyone must flee to preserve his life and the lives of his loved ones, but the enemy is pressing the fight, eager to wipe out every man, woman, and child. So, despite being alone against hundreds, perhaps thousands, we turn to face the adversary, uncoil our dog rope, and drive our pin into the ground, prepared at least to delay the enemy so that others can escape.
Realistically, what chance do we have? Maybe it would be best to pull the pin or untie the dog rope and turn and run. But we cannot, for we are Dog Soldiers who had committed to give our lives, if necessary, when we were welcomed into the warrior society.
David charges Solomon to be strong, to be a man. God charges Joshua to be strong and courageous. Each of these men was being called to take up the mantle of leadership and guide God's people faithfully. That takes courage and strength, for often the leader will find himself as the only one staked out and willing to fight and protect his people.
But not only are the high profile leaders called to be strong and courageous, each and every man and women is called to be strong and courageous in their service to Christ. We are all called to lead in the fight against encroaching darkness.
Sometimes we may find ourselves alone, the only one dogged in and willing to stand. Nevertheless, our call is to fight to the end.
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them" (Joshua 1:6).