Poverty and Persecution
Updated: Apr 18, 2021
With Easter Sunday hours away, we remember and embrace the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and what it means to be forgiven, freed from sin, and eternally alive with God. This Sunday, as nations pause to remember and celebrate this central truth of our faith, I want to take a moment to help each of us realize that for many Christians, our future hope of life with God is what sustains them as they struggle to stay alive.
Two weeks ago, while at a Sunday night worship assembly, an Asian congregation that The Flow supports was interrupted by local police. There is growing community anger against Christians, and that anger erupted on that Sunday. A police force of 100 hostile officers who were acting outside the law, falsely arrested three Christian men. These men remain in custody today. As shared several weeks ago, in East Africa, a wife, husband and their newborn child were all arrested and taken to jail because of their desire to practice and share their faith in Jesus. Weeks later, they still remain incarcerated. Tragically, these six people are not alone in suffering unjustly for their faith.
Christians and their neighbors in the Philippines, Kenya, and in countries of the Mediterranean Rim are without food. Because of the spread of the Covid-19 virus communities in these countries remain in lockdown. In the best of times, these Christians live below the poverty line. They are now facing starvation. Because of the lockdown, adults cannot go to work, so they have no money to buy food for their families. Government aid has long since been exhausted. Over a year ago, a story in the Wall Street Journal predicted that globally more people would die from the poverty caused by the Covid-19 virus than from the virus itself. Unfortunately, this prediction seems to be coming true.
The Flow is working with Christian mission workers to help determine how to help free Christians from jail, and also provide for the basic needs of people who are hungry and hurting. This Easter, as we look toward the end of the pandemic here in the US, please spend a moment thinking about those Christians and their neighbors in countries where their faith is seen as a threat, and where the pandemic’s end is still distant. Ask God to send justice, relief and provisions to those whose hope is fading as their trials increase.
And maybe as you sit down to eat your Easter meal, share this Scripture with your family and friends:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:34-40
And then say these words to each other: “We are blessed so that we can bless others.”