Home of the Brave

The danger associated with faith was in the Bible stories that we read. We heard about the suffering of the early church when the Jews rulers tried to stop their teaching. We heard about the suffering of Christians in past times and far away in mission fields. We never thought about suffering for Christ being a part of our life. We lived in America, the land of the free and home of the brave. Freedom of religion was part of living in America and we often thanked God we had such freedom to worship God the way we wanted.
Church has never seemed dangerous in the past. The worst that could happen is someone would be bored to death. It is a little more concerning today with the news of shooters choosing churches as a target. Shootings also occur at concerts, schools and other occasions where crowds gather. It is not more dangerous in church than it is in any other gathering of people. When we hear of it happening in a church, we do think about it a little more. It used to be there was respect for God and a church would never have been a target, but that is not true today.
When we look at the ministry of Jesus, we see he was in danger. There were threats from the Jewish rulers, and they plotted against him. What did Jesus do about this? He expected it. He even challenged them at times when they came to him. He did not attack them, but he did not back down from confrontation with them either. There were times when violence was attempted against him, but it was avoided until he was ready. Jesus intent was not to live forever and heal as many as possible. He came to be the sacrifice for their sin. There is no sacrifice without violence.
When Jesus was arrested his disciples ran away. John and Peter later appear at this trial and that risk causes Peter to deny he knows Jesus. He regretted it immediately. The conflict between Jewish leaders and Christians would continue. They healed, preached and spoke up in court. Sometimes the results were violent. They wore it as a badge of courage that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. To follow Jesus means we accept the danger of knowing him. Church is not to be a place of safety. We are on the front line living out the faith that calls us to follow Jesus. This is still the home of the brave.
Friday, March 6, 2020

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