Vienna is known for many reasons. I like it because in my experience it is clean, and it has an excellent and easy to use public transport system. I can hop onto a CAT train in Vienna Airport and be in the centre of the city sixteen minutes later. A return ticket costs just EUR19. That’s a bargain compared with the Heathrow Express in London.
But Vienna does have one problem that visitors might not notice. You can see it through the CAT train windows, particularly as the train slows prior to arriving at Wien Mitte station. The problem is the graffiti that adorns the walls along the side of the railway. For some inexplicable reason the artists seem prepared to risk their lives to exhibit their art in public view, competing for space on the once empty walls.
I walked from Wien Mitte station last week to the Uniqa Tower where I had a meeting. I was appalled at the amount of Graffiti I saw en-route, particularly on the canal walls where the artists must have had access to a boat. While I cannot understand how they don’t get caught and prosecuted, I have to admire their tenacity and their commitment to their cause. How many of us would creep along a railway line to paint random letters in vibrant colours on the wall? And what about the challenge of floating along a canal just so that you can paint the head of a deep sea diver apparently drinking from the canal through a straw?
There is an example for followers of Jesus here. If we were as committed as the graffiti artists of Vienna then would there be any disciples left to make? If we spent as much time in God’s presence as a graffiti artist spends planning and producing his or her art, wouldn’t we snapping at the spiritual heels of the apostles? If we were prepared to take risks on a level taken by those who venture along railway lines and canals to create their art, would there be any part of this planet left untouched and unchanged by the presence of God displayed through the lives of His followers? Give me some brushes and some paint. I’m off to create some graffiti. It ought to be a darn sight easier than being a Christian.
Are they servants of Christ? I know I (the Apostle Paul) sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NLT)