Friday, March 02, 2007

Response #2: Remember Them

(The following is part of a series of "responses to the persecuted church" based on a sermon by Eric Schumacher at An Infant in a Cradle. I'm resuming the series after a hiatus as I waited for the green light from Schumacher to continue. As a preface to his sermon, Schumacher noted: "It is important that we hear these stories. However, hearing them is not enough. We are called to respond. So, I want to ask this question...: How do we respond to the persecuted church?" I'm breaking down his "ten responses to the persecuted church," listing his suggestions and adding my thoughts.)

2. Remember them.

Have you ever noticed how we don't think much about specific parts of our body until they hurt? You probably don't think twice about your big toe on an average day, until you have an ingrown toenail--and suddenly it's all you can think about. You don't give a thought to your elbow until you've knocked your crazy bone--and then you can't forget it.

In spite of this, there are parts of our Body that are hurting every moment of the day--and too often we comfortably go on without the reality of their pain and suffering even briefly crossing our minds.

The author of Hebrews commands us to "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3). If we were in jail, would we be able to forget it for even one moment? How can we forget or ignore our suffering brothers and sisters in the persecuted church worldwide?

Schumacher provides this illustration:

In Colossians 4:18, Paul tells the church, “Remember my chains.” Imagine that today, on their way home from church, your father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter is stopped by a police officer. Upon seeing their Bible and learning that they are returning from church, he arrests them and throws them in jail where they are left without food, water or clothing and are tortured until they renounce Christ. How often would you think of them? You would think of them constantly, wouldn’t you?

...If you would remember your biological brother or sister, who will only be your sibling for a few short years on earth, how can you neglect to remember the one who is your brother or sister for eternity in the family of God?

These are real men, women and children who suffer real pain. And their faith, courage, and hope in the midst of their suffering is challenging and inspiring. One simple (and free) way to remember them more often is to sign up to receive The Voice of the Martyrs' monthly magazine. Each issue provides stories and photos of Christians around the world who are persecuted for their beliefs. Or consider adding to your feeds for more frequent updates. Whatever you do, remember them.

See also...
Response #1: Do not be surprised

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I will try to remember my aching fellow brothers and sisters!