As today is Good Friday I wanted to mark it on my blog with something that will help our current suffering church.
As theres an outcry about refugees I think this post even more relevant as this post shows what these people were fleeing
This is a report on current Christian persecutions and contains graphic and upsetting images ,its extremely unsuitable for children or those who would prefer not to see images of death and torture.The images are upsetting and unforgettable .
For those who are offended by these images I say ,then please do something to stop the persecutions they document ,because I find it offensive that we allow this and do nothing ,yet campaign to have the news suppressed .This is a new holocaust ,dont be like those we condemn in the past by turning your back and preferring not to see
Good Friday is a day that focuses on Jesus Sacrifice ,Christians believe Jesus died on Good Friday to bring peace and reconciliation to the world ,to make possible mankinds reconciliation with God and to make possible peace on the earth ,both by bringing peace to the troubled hearts of men and women everywhere and paving the way for them to truly know God and in knowing God and in knowing his peace they too will be willing to lay down their lives in his service and in the cause of right.
The image above showing Christians about to be beheaded is fairly well known, the next frames of the film are not.To us it may seem that at least beheading is a quick death but it is not it is brutal.I include the video link because I feel strongly that if we reduce the coverage of the current persecutions to sanitised images of kneeling men or chilling yet restrained footage of men being walked across a beach then we loose the true horror and urgency of the situation.
.To those who have claimed the video is staged ,many of those executed are known personally to their Coptic brethren and I include interviews with relatives here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/isis-christians-killed-_n_6703278.html
Again be please aware the next parts of this post have extremely disturbing images.
The unseen later frames of the photo show the actual beheading .
Jesus died that we the church should be willing to lay down our lives to bring peace to our troubled world to replace with justice ,peace and equality the horrors of war ,To fight for a world where women are not raped or oppressed.
or subjected to barbaric punishments to crush their spirits and remove their rights.
For those who feel the burkha and Niqab are an expression of freedom of speech ,they are not ,they are in most countries forced upon women by men to subjugate them ,isolate them and remove their individuality and right to self expression.The women below are Isis women prisoners.They will be sold as sex slaves or raped and murdered,They are not wearing the burka to protect their modesty or because their husbands cherish them .They are wearing it to become nothing ,like the striped uniforms of concentration camp victims
In a world where children murdered, people are starving while others throw food away for no reason than we dont want it . Christians are called to speak and act against the injustice of people dying of thirst ,while we in the west leave sprinklers running so our public parks look green or fill swimming pools while farmers loose water to their wells ,where we find it acceptable to imprison chickens without ever seeing sky or sunlight just so we can have eggs for a few pence less,,to replace this unequal ,war torn pain riven world with a world of justice ,equality ,freedom ,safety and plenty for all by fairly distributing the more than adequate resources God has given to us all equally.To stand with those who suffer.
source image one The Passion of the christ, source image two http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2014/12/18/iraqs-quiet-christian-genocide/
To lay down your life for your fellow man to be willing to die rather than deny what you believe true.
and live to serve the cause of peace and justice, these are the timeless values and core meaning of Good Friday .Values for which two thousand years ago a man was crucified and for which today men are still willing to face crucifixion for
(sources this article http://thedeadchurch.com/blog/2014/7/4/celebrate-freedom-in-syria-8-crucified-for-christianity)
These are not just theology to be argued but life aims and core values ,for these many thousands of Christians have given their life these past months .Men ,Women and Children .
Yet just as most today will ignore the sacrifice of Jesus two thousand years ago ,they will also with less justification ignore the ongoing sacrifice of Christians around the world .
The media has for the most part ignored the daily atrocities despite many reports in the Christian press and photos showing the death and misery brought by ISIS to Christians.With great moral strength many Christians when faced with the choice of denying Christ and living or being butchered have chosen Christ ,,and bravely died for it.
How keen would the tabloid press be to use images like the one below splashed across its front pages if the person shown was a journalist.(this is a Yemeni child )Yemen despite its movie début is a major persecutor of Christians
Further warning images below are extremely graphic
How quick and loud would be the outcry caused by photos like these if it was a western children,Many of these children were first raped then murdered in front of their parents,in some cases there was no opportunity to renounce Christ ,homes were raided and the family’s dragged out to be executed
Some children were murdered for refusing to deny their belief in Christ,,not at the instigation of parents or religious leaders many of these children were taken away from their parents ,taken from homes or schools or churches and each asked at sword point
It is a shame we all share, Christians more than others as we are the body of Christ ,when one of us suffers all should feel their pain .Yet each child s death robs us of our joint future ,each mans unreported death makes the next mans more likely ,each woman or child raped but denied justice makes more atrocities likely .We can all make a huge difference ,we can change governments attitudes ,at the very least we can show the sacrifice and mourn the loss of our fellow mans deaths.We can protect children to have fully and happy lives ,not brutal premature deaths.
Just days before I wrote this post there was yet another atrocity against Christians this time in Africa in Kenya .147 young people were shot .The gunmen first separated Christians and Muslims released the Muslims and killed the Christians.
Photos of these and other atrocities echo those of the liberation of the death camps
This was the result last time we decided to ignore the pleas of a religious minority
And this is what is happening now as we ignore the calls of Christian leaders ,the Christian press and the Christian Church
While the main focus of the current massacres is the middle and far east,In Africa especially Nigeria ,in Pakistan ,in Afghanistan,in North Korea,China and elsewhere Christians are daily persecuted and increasingly targeted in terror attacks as in those at the school.
A lucky few of these Christians have fled and seek refuge .
Some in the UK when your tempted to vote for the BNP ,for UKIP or to sign petitions against immigration ,remember these images ,remember these slaughtered men women and children and perhaps consider that not all those seeking asylum are liars and money grabbing slobs looking for an easy life in the UK
Here is a list of petitions that are currently running to help Christians around the globe.Before you celebrate your Easter, please take a minute to save a life and make a difference
and lastly shame on Franklin Graham
Compared to this
From pope Francis
And this open letter to ISIS by Islamic scholars
finally from Revelation
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
– Revelation 7:14-17
Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
As is always the case some would choose to deny these atrocities are happening ,months or years from now these people will stand judged by history ,decades from now they will be seen in the same light as holocaust deniers .But for now suffice it to say they are wrong UN reports ,international agencies reports ,red cross reports, news reports, eye witness reports from towns ,Christians reports on fellow believers and most frequently of all ISIS own propaganda images and videos .