Allow me to go back in-time to Troy, to Greece the Trojan horse and Achilles. The events of the past week at Westgate Mall do have the makings of a Greek tragedy.
While Troy is burning, Andromache helps Helen and many others escape from Troy through the secret passage Hector showed her. Achilles searches for Briseis, who is was in Agamemnon hands. She kills him with a knife, and is saved by Achilles from being stabbed by Agamemnon's. Paris finds Achilles and shoots an arrow straight through Achilles' fatal weakness, his heel.
Achilles tells Briseis, who was crying to leave the city with Paris. Briseis refuses but she is taken by Paris towards the secret passageway. Achilles watches them leave, then he collapses with the arrow in his heel.
The surviving Trojan soldiers have a last weak attempt to repel the invaders, but they are defeated and the Greeks burst all together in the city and find Achilles dead. They perform the funeral rituals, the next morning.
The last words belong to Odysseus:
"If they ever tell my story, let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say that I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles...."
The past week has been eventful for all of us – when our history is told, we will remember where we were on that day. For me, as the days rolled by and the images and stories were highlighted, one thing stood out – people who in a moment made a decision that changed who we are forever. They walked with Giants.
You must accept as I do, that even those who committed the evil that was witnessed and those who knew about the attack and did not act will also be part of this History. However, I have always known that I must and I can choose what will stand out for me and I choose to recognise the people who acted out of selflessness and became the answer to the prayers of many. They answered the call to heaven. In fact God himself calls on us to do so. In the book of James, He challenges us by saying,
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16)
Let me walk you through history and the deeds of ordinary people who affected history and changed lives.
When account manager Todd Beamer and the other passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 realised their plane had been seized by terrorists, they worked quickly and courageously to reclaim control. Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but the passengers' brave resistance galvanised America at its darkest moment. Todd Beamer and the Passengers of Flight 93: Fought Back against the 9/11 Terrorists.
I’m sure you have seen, or remember seeing the powerful image of a man standing directly in front of an army tank in Tiananmen Square in China. He has never been identified. The photo was taken on June 6, 1989, the day after China's bloody crackdown on student protesters. Despite his anonymity, Tank Man has become an internationally recognised symbol of resistance to government oppression. Tiananmen Tank Man: Faced Down the Chinese Army.
Tunisian street vendor (yes, hawker) Mohammed Bouazizi never had any dreams bigger than saving enough money to rent or buy a pick-up truck. But when he set himself on fire out of desperation in December 2010, he became a symbol of the suffering of all Tunisians. Bouazizi's death inspired the nationwide unrest that resulted in the overthrow of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The Tunisian uprising, in turn, led to the Arab Spring movement that ultimately toppled regimes in Egypt and Libya. Mohammed Bouazizi: Sparked a Revolution.
Tired from a full day's work, Rosa Parks boarded a Montgomery bus on December 1, 1955. When she refused to obey the driver's order to give up her seat in the "coloured" section for a white person, she was arrested for civil disobedience. Parks' act of defiance, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott that followed, are recognised as pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her seat.
Those are but a few names and the reason I have picked them from every aspect and walk of life is because I wouldn’t want you to think that only Martin Luther king, or Nelson Mandela, or Ghandi or Obama can affect history. It’s regular people like you and I.
It’s Abdul Hajji, Benjamin, Jack Seth Geffoir, Aleem Manji, Mitul Shah, the unknown waiter at Art café, the plain clothes policemen with no protective gear just t-shirts and a pistol, the Red Cross volunteers, the staff of Barclays, the staff of Mr Price, the numerous police reservists, the countless blood donors, our soldiers – very ordinary people who answered prayers. They walked with Giants.
Everyday, we are called to a place of intercession where we can begin to take on God’s burden for the lost, hurting, oppressed, and disenfranchised. As intercessors, we are challenged to not only pray for answers—but to also become the answer. It’s time for you to begin to believe, that you are on this earth for a reason. You have been positioned and placed with a divine mandate to effect change in your community, in your city, in this country!
To those great selfless people – those I know and those I am yet to know, those who live on and those who lost their lives – let it be recorded that I will tell your story and I will say with pride that you walked with Giants.