Auxonne, France to Bari, Italy

Sept -Dec 1996

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    Why the Walk

On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades
by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of "Deus volt!" or "God wills it!".  Hundreds of thousands of Christians answered the call on pain of excommunication from the church.  Since no finances accompanied the call, these crusaders stole, raped and pillaged their way from all parts of Europe to Jerusalem. As a result, many Muslims and Jews still regard the Crusades with unforgiveness towards Christians in general.

Reconciliation walks were suggested by YWAM (Youth With A Mission) on the 900th anniversary of these marches to ask for forgiveness from populations affected. There were many routes taken by the crusaders.  One of these routes was from Dijon, France to Bari, Italy and then across the Adriatic sea towards Turkey and beyond. This is a record of the walk undertaken by a YWAM group of some 16 people following the route the crusaders took from Auxanne near Dijon, France to Bari, Italy.  During this 1000 mile walk, a cross was carried and some 6000 pamphlets were distributed in French and Italian asking for forgiveness for the atrocities committed by the crusaders 900 years ago. A copy of the Italian version is given below.

We had opportunities to visit several mosques and synagogues.  Our testimony was that we were against the atrocities against Muslims and Jews committed in the name of God, especially in the name of Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to give life not death.  We bring a message of forgiveness , peace and hope. Hope - we may be the first, but we will not be the last!

Why do the walk?  Glenn, one of the participants, had two conversations along the way that tell us why. In the first, he was talking with someone about the walk and its significance. He was asked if he was a Catholic.  Glenn responded no.  He asked why. Because the Crusades was a Catholic issue.  What's it to  you?  Glenn started thinking about a response and was able to give it in the next conversation.

He was later talking with an Englishman.  He was asked: are you an American? When Glenn answered yes, the man asked why would an American get involved in an issue that has nothing to do with him? Glenn reminded that he was part of a larger body of Christians, now all around the world in different countries, speaking different languages, also extending through time from the past into the future. What one Christian does, or does not do, has an effect on the body.  The Crusaders, nine hundred years ago, pillaged, raped and murdered their way to Jerusalem and their actions have had an effect on the body.  Similarly, every conversation/action I take has one of two effects - either I bring someone closer to Jesus Christ or drive them further away. We are then responsible as Christians to show the true face of Christ in all we do. 

The walk undertaken was the outreach phase of a DTS (Discipleship Training School) at the YWAM base in Lausanne, Switzerland.  The 5-month YWAM DTS given at various YWAM bases consists of two phases - a 3-month lecture phase (To know God) and a 2-month outreach phase (To make Him known)







Onto the HERE

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