Code Name Sebastian

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One of my top-ten all time favorite books!  Here’s a few snippets from its musty bindings.

            Bonhoeffer said, “The church must get out of the cloister and into the world…man is challenged to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world.  He must therefore plunge himself into the life of a godless world without attempting to gloss over it’s ungodliness with a veneer of religion or trying to transfigure it.  He must live a worldly life and so participate in the suffering of God. To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some form of asceticism….but to be a man.”

            I came across Code Name Sebastian in a church library in the early 90’s. The novel answers the question; ‘how in the world can a man of God be a man in a godless world?’  Through each page, we see how God uses an impossible situation to transform a sniveling minister into a daring deliverer. The protagonist, Sebastian described himself before he made his bold move to save the day: 

            “I’ve played it safe in the clutches, demanding nothing of God and expecting nothing in return.  I was representing a Christ who died a neat, sophisticated death on a church steeple with the organ playing, rather than one who died on a garbage dump to the sound of a cursing, vile humanity.  So, I’ve come all this way to find out what it smells like, tastes like, to share that suffering.”

            Toward the end of the novel the beautiful stewardess, Miss Churchhill, herself an Israeli spy, summed up the transformation she saw in him.  “The greatest miracle out there is what happened to you, Sebastian,’ she said. “You came into the desert weak, all mush, whining about the need to be detached from the bruised, confused people who had survived…remember?  I hated you, I despised you that night for that weakness…well the end of the journey was different…you were in a sense invinceable…not miraculous…but you were a man risen to the commission to lift the helpless, to daringly, in instances, effect deliverance when you even didn’t know how…to me that is my concept of God in the universe, and you brought Him to me in all His glory.”

Out of print? Probably.  Hard to find?  Most likely.  Worth the read?   Absolutely!

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