IT IS ALMOST AS IF THE NEWS OF THE WORLD - WARS,
EARTHQUAKES, TORNADOES, PROTESTS AND RIOTS,
UNEMPLOYMENT AND GASOLINE PRICES - HAVE
DEFLECTED ATTENTION FROM EASTER
Here we are in the middle of Holy Week, which began with Palm Sunday,
commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There throngs of people
welcomed Him, shouting "Hosanna, blessed is the King of Israel," spreading
their garments in the streets for the animal that He was riding to walk upon, and
waving palm branches in His honor.
Think back just a few days. This year was Palm Sunday a special event in your
church ... in your community? Or did the turmoil shaking our world cause you
to focus your attention elsewhere?
After that day of welcome and praise for Him ... five days later He was dead,
crucified and buried. Today we observe that day as "Good Friday."
But three days after the sadness and sorrow of the day of crucifixion there is
always the glorious morn of Easter -- Resurrection Sunday -- and we can say
with Paul, "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits
of them that slept ... in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Cor. 15:20,22)
And that is not, in the words of Mr. Obama, "an obscure verse."
But current events are not the problems facing Christians elsewhere.
We are all familiar with the persecution Christians face in so many parts of
Muslim world, as the followers of Islam destroy Christian churches, attack
Christian believers, and kill -- even behead -- followers of Jesus Christ, simply
because their religion instructs them to kill all infidels. In Egypt, Muslims have
gained a foothold in the new "democracy" we encouraged them to develop,
and persecution of Christians has drastically increased. And in Iraq, where we
forced upon them a form of "democracy," almost all the nation's Christians
have fled to more safe places. But those examples are just part of the familiar
story in Muslim countries. Yet 6 out of the top 10 recipients of U.S. economic
aid are Muslim dominant nations.
But it isn't just in Muslim countries that Christians are being attacked.
These news stories were noted in a quick survey during the past week ...they
are just a few examples of the ongoing persecution of Christians in India today.
Karnataka – Police on April 10 arrested a pastor and other Christians of the
New India Church in Mysore after some 25 Hindu extremists attacked their
Sunday service. New Delhi – A mob of about 150 Hindu extremists on April 9
attacked a Christian meeting in East Delhi, beating Christians with clubs and
stones, including women and children. Madhya Pradesh – An enraged mob
of Hindu extremists on April 7 stormed into the prayer meeting of a Christian
Assembly house church shouting anti-Christian slogans. Karnataka -- Four
Christians, including a police constable, were beaten on April 1 in Madikeri
district on allegations of “religious conversion abetment,” as if conversion were
illegal in India. And there are more. . .
At this Easter season our prayers should be in behalf of our fellow Christians.
throughout the world who are not free to worship our risen Lord, and who are
suffering severe persecution -- often death -- for their faith in Him.