News of intentional attacks against non-Muslims in Pakistan on Easter Sunday and reports growing of the number of worshipers dead continues to climb leaves a mind of a follower of Christ in relative peace at a juxtaposition.
Especially a local church putting the final touches upon a building process. What does a church do? What is a right response? What is a fair reaction? Is it alright to rejoice in temporal things while others suffer bodily harm or even loss of life all together?
The weight of what the apostle Paul says “to live is Christ, to die is gain” causes one to ponder what really is important. (disclaimer note: where it is reported that the attack on Easter Sunday (3/27/16) in Pakistan was directed toward Christians, one needs a bit more help knowing what is meant with the use of the word “Christian”. At this point, we interpret it as we might with understanding that the media really doesn’t know the definition of the word or its proper use in reporting. Irregardless, a religious group was attacked by another religious group. I is right to weigh it as such with care.)
Here are some things I am processing through my mind this morning as the flooring in our new meetinghouse is being installed and news of 70 Christians dead and over 300 wounded begins to take center stage on world media outlets.
- “Behold the kindness and severity of God…” (Romans 11:22) Look at His kindness and severity.
- Be careful how we interpret His kindness (Is the installation of flooring the kindness of God?).
- Be careful how we interpret His severity (Is it harsh of God when a loved one dies?).
- Even though the landscape of the church in America is quickly changing, Christians in America have experienced a long season of peace.
- Even thought few churches in the United States are marked like those in Pakistan were over the weekend, that reality is more the norm in most of the world.
- Mourn when it is appropriate to mourn.*
- Rejoice when it is appropriate to rejoice.
- Refuse to live in fear.
- Enjoy temporal events in light of eternity.
- Endure hardships in light of eternity.
- Pray for those in difficult situations for boldness more than removal of their hardships.
- Ask God for strength when the hardship comes our way.
Today, this preacher will look with pleasure as floor covering begins on a temporal meetinghouse, godly sorrow for those suffering in Pakistan, and a sober reality that there is a growing hate for followers of Christ in our land and set my gaze to the kindness and severity of God.
After all, the book of Hebrews chapter 11 starts with a beautiful retelling of the kindness of God to give increasing faith to those who historically walked in the light of the favor of God and then closes with the telling of saints who suffer greatly in this world for their following of Christ. It is a chapter filled with an apparent juxtaposition much like today.
*edited for spelling/grammar