Sermon Illustrations

In Irresistible Revolution Shane Claiborne tells about his decision to go to Iraq before the war began. He counted the cost finally deciding to go Iraq to stop terrorism and the war in order to love our enemies. After spending much time in Baghdad in the midst of the bombing, he and his friends made the decision to drive across the desert to Jordan.

As they traveled, they soon began looking for gas. One gas station was bombed and then another was simply abandoned. With tanks on empty, they stopped at a station, this one also abandoned. They were joined by a van carrying students from the University of Baghdad, who headed to a refugee camp in Jordan. They hooked up their battery to the pump and using the energy from their battery, filled Shane and his friends car with gas.

They all left in a convoy for Jordan. However, the roads became increasingly treacherous. Buses were bombed out. Ambulances were incinerated. Light poles were down. Car parts and shrapnel littered the road. Soon they could see ginormous clouds of smoke from bombs only seconds old on the horizon. One bomb hit only a kilometer away. The atmosphere was intense as the drivers sped up to over 80 mph to minimize the chances of getting bombed.

The cars began to spread farther a part when Shane’s car, the last in the convoy, spun out of control as a tire burst with a loud pop. The car rolled into a ditch coming to rest on its side. They were able to climb out the top door and pull everyone out. All five were shaken badly and injured—one person bleeding profusely from the head. A car of Iraqi civilians seemed to appear out of no where (after only a minute after the crash). Without a second thought, they all piled into the car heading to the nearest town waving a white sheet out the window as war planes flew overhead.

Rutba, a city of about 20 thousand people, was only a few minutes away. Shane wondered if they might become hostages so he handed a sheet written in Arabic explaining who they were.

The town was devastated. Before they could get out of the car at the hospital, the doctors greeted them as the town began to gather. When they learned that they were from the US, the doctor asked loudly, “Why this? Why? Why is your government doing this?” With tears in his eyes, he explained that one of the bomb’s had hit the children’s ward of the hospital so they could not go to the hospital. “But you are our brothers, and we will take care of you.” So they set up a clinic with four beds and saved the life of Shane’s friend. The doctors apologized for the lack of supplies due to the sanctions. They townspeople brought blankets and water inviting them to live with them in Rutba. When Shane told them that they had to get their passports from their car, the people looked at them as if they were crazy telling them that even the ambulances are getting bombed.

By this time, the other cars had returned to the crash and been told where they were. They had a wonderful little reunion before finishing their journey. As they left the people gave them hugs, kisses, and placed their hands on their hearts. They offered the doctors money but they refused saying, “Just tell the world about Rutba.”