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From Father Charles - Jun/Jul  2017

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Reflection on anti-Christian Sentiment


Have you ever had to stand up for your Christian beliefs?

Have you ever faced danger as a result of what you believe?

Some Christians, over the years, have taken strong stands against persecution even when facing death, while others won't even raise their voice when their government passes laws that go against their religious beliefs or erode their religious freedoms.

When was the last time you had to stand up for your faith?

How well did you do?

A classmate of mine at Sewanee worked at a business before seminary where several other employees frequently used profane language for persons of other faiths and races.  It was a routine part of their conversation. This individual took a stand and explained to the others on the team that she was offended, especially offended by one word they were using. It took a while, but eventually the culture within the work place changed for the better.

Would you have done the same thing? Or would you remain quiet and say nothing as others curse and use offensive language around you?

I also know a person who always wears a rather large Crucifix on a chain around his neck. On one occasion this individual was sitting on a park bench when someone approached him and said they were offended by his Crucifix. He responded like this:

"Ma'am, you should be offended by it; I am offended by it too!"

He went on to say:  

"This man, this Jesus was put to death for my sins and for yours. He did nothing wrong. We should all be offended by this cross."  

Would you have the courage to take this same stand?  What would you have said?

Do you wear anything that let's others know you are a Christian?

When I go to a restaurant I always pray for the food, for the persons I am eating with and the people who work in the particular restaurant.  It is an act of faith which often is repaid by snide comments; yet others appear comforted or inspired by the same action.

Do you pray a blessing before all of your meals? Always?

What about in a social settings for breakfast, lunch or dinner when you are seated with other people whom you have never met, do you still offer to say a blessing?

If not, why not? What is it that you fear?

The reality is that some Christians don't even pray blessing before meals at home.

The Christian world is a dangerous place these days.  According to one internet source, during the year 2016, some 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith around the world. A new study from the Turin-based Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) reports the frightening statistics, but warns us that most of us will never be called on to risk our lives, but if we were, how would we react? Are we willing to die for our faith?

In the recent past, Christians were most frequently persecuted by atheistic communist regimes. "Christians are targeted primarily for two reasons; first because their proclamation of peace disturbs more belligerent groups; and second, because their social teachings on life, family and poverty are opposed by powerful forces."

The article went on to state: "Communism's last salvos" are still responsible for some ill-treatment of Christians, but "Islamic ultra-fundamentalism" has taken its place as the number-one agent of persecution."

There are many biblical examples of people standing up for what they believe. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He is mentioned in three places in the Gospel of John. While a member of the Sanhedrin, he risked being accused of being a Jesus sympathizer, which could have cost him his life.  He was so moved by Jesus that after the crucifixion he provided the customary embalming spices, and assisted Joseph of Arimathea in preparing Jesus' body for burial.

There have been so many martyrs who have gone before us and stood up for their faith.

Do we still have the faith and courage to do the same?

Father Charles Cannon

Saint Hillary's Episcopal Church Saint Hillary's Episcopal Church Saint Hilary's Episcopal Church

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