An excerpt from Charles Colson’s “The Body, Being Light In Darkness.”
In some ways, the story began in the town of Nowa Huta, Poland soon after World War II…..
“We need a church,” the workers said, “A place of worship.”…..
The Communists bought time, however, by nodding agreeably, “Fine, they said, “No problem.”
So several young Christians and a Polish priest nailed together two rugged beams and pounded the rough timber cross straight and solid into Polish soil to mark the site where their chapel would be built.
Soon, however, the authorities returned with a different verdict. “We are sorry,” they told the workers. “This space is needed for something else. You cannot build a church here.”
But the people wanted their church. Night after night they gathered around the cross. Priests offered mass, and the people sang and celebrated communion with one another and their Lord.
The authorities retaliated with water cannons, but this forceful baptism didn’t faze the faithful. Then the Communists tore down the cross, as if sundering its heavy beams would somehow cleave the people. But the citizens of Nowa Huta were determined, and in the morning the cross was once again stretching toward heaven for all to see.
This went on for years—the authorities tearing down the cross and the people restoring it. And in the midst of the struggle the people came to a realization that would steel their faith in a way that Communism could never steal their souls.
“The church is not a building,” they said to one another. “The church is us, celebrating the presence of our Lord among us! Praise be to God!”