What about Christians in the Middle East? Never again? I guess it only applies to the group who trumpets that phrase. The thought comes to me when I read and watch this post: “A Christian Holocaust in our Midst.”
We had a guest speaker at Church Sunday–one who grew up in Israel, and speaks fluent Arabic. His presentation was a breath of fresh air for me, in that he presented his assessment of what’s happening in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Israel, etc.) that affirmed my own research from afar.
Israel started with awful terrorism against both the British, and the Arabs and others who lived in Palestine. Israel is the victim of awful terrorism today, but at least some of the blame must be laid on oppressive policies that have harmed peoples whose forefathers lived in that land from far before Israel was born as a political state.
As the speaker said, imagine American Indians surrounding a modern U.S. city and telling citizens they had to leave, or die, because the land we’re living on belongs to them. This is what happened to those who lived in Palestine. In more recent times, as settlements expanded, Israelis simply stole historic farm and grazing lands that belonged to these same people.
There are NO white hats in this conflict, only differing shades of dark gray, and black.
Christians in Israel are caught in the middle—persecuted by both Jews and Muslims—and further hampered by dominant, wrong-headed beliefs among Western Christians about the land of Israel and its modern Biblical significance.
Bad theology is the root of every problem.
On the hopeful side, there are growing, life-filled Christian communities thriving in Israel–and the majority of them are Arabs and Palestinians. We must pray that they be strengthened, to reach both Jews and Muslims to make them worshippers of the Prince of Peace. That is Israel’s only hope for a cessation of bloodshed.
As for Iraq and Syria: we need to pray… hard. The great comfort, as we read horrible stories about systematic beheadings of Christian children, is that this life is not all there is, and Justice will prevail:
I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. –Revelation 6:9b-11
I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. –Revelation 20:4b
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for Believers under fire. Pray and ask the Lord what He would have you do. And pray for grace to share the Good News of Jesus with your neighbors, before the beheadings come much closer to home.