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Promises for the Persecuted: Part 2

Each week Pastor Sarah blogs on the Scripture for Sunday's upcoming sermon. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!

Sunday's Scripture ~ Romans 5:6-11.

This Sunday we conclude our two-part series entitled 'Promises for the Persecuted,' and will explore the third and fourth scriptural promises for those experiencing persecution.

I am grateful to conclude sharing a resource with you from Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church for my blog post this week. It is an order of worship for A Service of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. I trust that God will speak to you through these words and reflections. I look forward to our time together in worship.



Read: Revelation 6:1, 9-11.

Reflection: A 2002 BBC news report. Unidentified gunmen have shot dead seven people at a Christian charity in Karachi's central business district, Pakistani police say. They entered the third-floor offices of the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) and shot their victims in the head. One other person is in a critical condition. All those killed were Pakistani Christians. Both gunmen escaped after the attack in the southern port city which has seen mounting attacks this year on Western and Christian targets.


Read: Revelation 7:9-12.

Reflection: Listen to early Christian writers who mused on the meaning and significance of the suffering and martyrdom of their brothers and sisters. Tertullian, a second-century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die, exclaimed, "The blood of the martyrs is seed. Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church."

The third-century bishop Cyprian said, "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict."

Augustine wrote, "The martyrs were bound, jailed, scourged, racked, burned, rent, butchered and they multiplied!" [from]


Read: Revelation 21:1-7.

Reflection: In John Wesley's Journal we read of a mob's attack and his deliverance. Fri., October 30th {1747}. In our return from intercession, we were stoned for the length of a street or two. Charles Perrenet interposed his back to screen me. Here I received the first blow since I came to Dublin. At our lodgings the mob took their leave of us, without hurting either {of us}.



Faithful One, you call us to pray for our brothers and sisters, who are part of the Church body that is under persecution. Humbly, we confess that we don? know how to pray for them. Lead us, Gracious Spirit, and we will follow. Holy and Just God, we call forth your light for those shut away in darkness for being called your disciples. We seek your strength for those weary with suffering because they name you as Lord. We ask courage for all who stand in danger due to their faith. And we pray comfort, Holy Spirit, for those who grieve the death of loved ones whose beliefs sent them to their graves. O God, as we cry out on their behalf, we stand with them in their suffering. We remember their pain. May they know they are not forgotten. We hold them now in silence before you.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.*

*Copyright 2004 The Upper Room. Written by Mary O. Benedict.

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