Today, Red Wednesday, is a day to take note of Christian persecution around the world. While this appears to be a mostly British phenomenon, we do well to remember how our brothers and sisters around the world suffer.
In the Middle East, Christians have sizable minorities in places like Syria and Iraq. While governing Muslim regimes in those countries can tend to be pretty tolerant, extremist groups cause daily persecution and death for Christians. ISIS has made as one of its goals the eradication of Christians.
In Africa, where Christianity, including United Methodism, are growing rapidly, Christians often face persecution from tribal governments that have a different religion. Such persecution destroys places of worship, places restrictions on Christians, and causes death in raids.
In Asia, Christians face persecution in China where Christianity is illegal. Russian churches that are not of the state church face much persecution, including rapidly growing United Methodist churches. In Southeast Asia, churches face persecution from ruling Hindu and Buddhist majorities.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters around the world. Paul tells us that persecution is not forever, but through it, God redeems our suffering and brings forth the peaceable kingdom. Pray for strength and endurance for churches around the world, for encouragement to continue their work, and for the spread of the gospel where they live.
Before Black Friday, let’s mark Red Wednesday.