The Church needs us and we need the Church.
As believers we have many gifts from God, and one of them is each another. Our fellow brothers and sisters in our local church, and in churches worldwide, are the body of Christ. We are all members of it. When one part suffers, all suffer with it. When one part is honoured, all rejoice with it¹. Have you experienced this? How well have you displayed this? I often stand condemned when I see the picture in the Bible I’m meant to fulfil. I fail every day to love my fellow believer as I should. Yet in Christ we are forgiven of our failings. We need to humbly confess them and seek to be obedient at the next opportunity.
The picture of a connected world-wide body of Christ is beautiful and exciting and hard to live out. And that’s why I love the work done through Open Doors. Through their ministry I have become more knowledgeable and filled with love for the Church in areas where it is experiencing the worst persecution. I need this connection, and so do they.
We can learn so much from the Church that assists members who’ve lost family to targeted attacks, children who are bullied at school for their parent’s faith, and believers who’ve been forced from their country. Some questions come to mind: What enables them to love so much and speak with such power? What do they pray for each day? Do they ever feel like giving up?
They are a part of the Church with much to teach us, and with a great need for support. We cannot ignore our fellow brothers and sisters. They might lose hope and give up or may die without our prayers to comfort them. Just like we have times of great struggle in our lives of service for God, they too experience trials and temptations, sometimes to the extreme. Who will stand with them in their situations? Who will care, but the Church? We are together the one body of Christ, and so let us support our members who suffer, and suffer alongside them.
Last year in May I visited a local Lebanese church with Open Doors. They are ministering in Lebanon to Syrian refugees, who are in camps on their doorstep. The majority are Muslims, and many are questioning their faith and coming to trust in Jesus. We met a beautiful sister who shared how she came to believe in Christ in Lebanon and how she was experiencing serious persecution from her brother and family. We prayed for her then and there. It was such a sorrowful and beautiful time. It was the body of Christ in action! See some photos of my trip below. Click to enlarge.
This Easter Open Doors is seeking to provide support for the persecuted church at a time where it is especially dangerous to be a Christian. Celebrations like Easter are dangerous times for believers to gather in churches, as they can be and do get violently targeted by extremists. Two Egypt churches were targeted at Easter last year by suicide bombers, and other countries have experienced similar attacks. Open Doors is asking us to stand One With Them, praying for them, and donating a day’s wage for them. And I’m not standing one with them just because Open Doors has asked. I am standing one with them because we need them and they need us. To God be the glory. May his Church remain faithful this Easter.
¹1 Corinthians 12:20-32 (Bible.com)