Christianity was based on Christ’s atoning death. He was crucified for His beliefs, His views, His opinions, and ever since that first death, there have been countless others sacrificed for their belief in that first sacrifice. Even today–despite our generational snobbery that we have intellectually evolved and “arrived”–people are killed for their beliefs.
I try to pray for those who follow Christ to the death, but I’ll be honest, sometimes it is hard to remember. I forget because I happen to live in a place where I can drive freely to church, listening to radio stations that talk openly about God (and mostly whatever else they want), and sing praises to God without anyone thinking much about it at all. I work at a job where one is permitted to have a book on his or her desk–Bible or not, it makes no difference. My wife and I pray before meals, at home and out in public restaurants. Never once has someone tried to stop us or threaten us. We quietly practice our faith however we want, and whether folks agree with said faith or not, they allow for it, just as we allow them to worship whatever it is they choose or choose not to.
And for this reason I forget.
I’m welcome to suffering, too, I think–at least I try to be. I may someday get called to it. I may be martyred yet or moved to some place that makes me choose my life or my God.
But for now I live here. And I’m free.
I’m saddened for those slain in the name of wholesome belief anywhere–I do not take that lightly. But I am also extremely thankful to have the freedoms I experience–and take for granted–each and every day.
And while it may be cliche, it is men and women who have served in our military, protecting freedoms for nobodies like me, and to them, I want to say thank you. I want to pray courage for those who don’t have the freedoms that I do, and I want to follow that with prayers for those who have laid it on the line so that I might never face a sword in order to bow to my God. And then I want to say thanks.
Thanks to all the veterans who have served.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.–John 15:13