Persecution of Christians is rife in many countries. In the Middle East, we are witnessing another genocide. Christians, Yazidis, and even Muslims are being targeted by the brutal actions of the Islamic State (IS).
The entire Christian population of Mosul (Ninevah) has fled: forced to either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or leave. Half a million Christians have been driven out of Syria during the 3-year civil war; many still in makeshift refugee camps.
What hope is there in such brutality?
Firstly, Jesus Christ identifies with the martyrs’ suffering. ‘Why are you persecuting me?’ Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4).
Perhaps we need to be more ‘body conscious’ and identify with those in the body of Christ overseas?!
Christians have great hope in suffering. Indeed, we are told to rejoice as our faith is proved genuine and leads to the revelation of Jesus (1 Peter 1:7).
Secondly, we have a duty to speak. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred by the Nazis, said: ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil in itself.’
Today is Solidarity Sunday, where about 600 churches around Australia will join to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, and raise local awareness of the persecuted. How will we respond?
For more on Solidarity Sunday, checkout: http://www.acl.org.au/2014/10/a-prayer-for-the-persecuted/
In Christ, Tory Cayzer.