The church I see is under attack.
It seems as though the church is being systematically wiped out in the Middle East, the very place it started. But is the church I see, the only church?
I met Sara* in the Middle East. She had converted from Islam to Christianity. She told me that when she was a Muslim, she would pray five times a day to a god who terrified her. But when she found Jesus, a God of grace who loves her unconditionally, she prayed 10 times a day.
Muslims are passionate god-seekers. So what happens when people who spend a lifetime seeking god, find Jesus–God, who reached down to us, and whose death and resurrection offers freedom? What does that church look like?
Image: Muslim women praying in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Well I can tell you, and I promise you it will push your idea of Christianity to its limits. Because it looks like people who place a mat on the floor facing Jerusalem, kneel down and pray five times a day religiously. People who learn scriptures cover to cover, fast for a whole month in pursuit of Jesus, and are bold and passionate evangelists without extremism.
There is a church I see and, in many ways, it’s a church I don’t want to see.
Because their expression of faith is so different to my expression of faith. It’s a church whose motive, intent, theology and actions I seem to automatically question, even though they are part of the body of Christ.
The church in the Middle East is under attack. But there is a church rising up that looks different, sounds different and sadly will be treated differently by so many of us. How does our personal experience of church affect our acceptance of how other people choose to worship Jesus? And what do we need to change in order to accept the emergence of a church that will push our idea of Christianity to its limits?
It’s currently Ramadan, a time when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Why not join that fast for a day? Choose one day over the next month to fast during daylight hours, and instead, spend meal times praying for your Muslim friends and neighbours.
Pray for the emerging church in the Middle East that is full of Christians from Muslim families. Pray for the Muslim community in your area and ask God to be known to those seeking after truth. And pray for yourself. Ask God to help you be able to share about Jesus with your Muslim friends, ask for simple conversations to begin about faith and for you to have the right words to say!
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.