What I have been thinking and feeling recently isn’t new or revolutionary, but I think many times it’s overlooked and forgotten and I know that it’s usually one of the furthest thoughts from my mind. For the last couple of weeks I’ve found my heart increasingly burdened for the Church around the world.
In fact, it’s been on my heart so much that I almost repurchased the book Jesus Freaks while out shopping in PA with Josh a couple of weeks ago (and I totally should have gone with that impulse purchase). As I continue to study the Church and read books about ministry, it’s become glaringly clear to me that it’s almost like we’re entirely separate from our brothers and sisters around the world… as though we’re members of a different body.
Yesterday a video was posted by Cornerstone Church Simi Valley, and has subsequently been taken down while the church verifies the authenticity. However, regardless of whether or not that video was actually showing the beatings of believers, persecution like that does take place and you can visit http://www.persecution.com/ to learn more about the persecution of the Church worldwide. I only watched about 20 seconds of it before I just couldn’t bear to watch any more and I began crying at my desk.
Then, last night at the Gathering, I was reminded once again that we are all part of ONE body. We’re the body of Christ.
Romans 12:4 “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
And though we’re many members, we’re all necessary – 1 Corinthians 12:14-27:
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
I feel we need to reconnect with these people. Their stories might not be well known on earth, but we’ll know their names in heaven. Please join me in praying for the people all around the world who labor and suffer for the sake of Christ. Not that God would necessarily take away their suffering, but that He would be their Provider, their Peace, and their Hope.