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“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
A friend of mine is currently ministering to Yazidi refugees in Northern Iraq. She lives a pretty typical suburban life, with a job and family and active involvement in her church. But right now she’s on her second mission trip to Northern Iraq, ministering to refugees who have suffered so much. They’ve prayed for the sick and offered medical care. They’ve brought food and supplies. And they’ve shared Jesus and his saving love—sometimes with those who were open to him because of dreams and visions in the night.
Praying for my friend has deepened my sense of identification with those under attack from ISIS. When I read headlines such as this morning's “ISIS fights back in Mosul” and I know my friend is there, I pray with greater fervor. But today’s lectionary reading from 1 Corinthians is exhorting me to have that same passion for my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. “If one member suffers, all suffer together.”
Canon Andrew White, who has just been named to an honorary position at Truro Anglican Church, recently spoke to the National Religious Broadcasters and called upon them to tell the story of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. You can read about his blunt message here.
Mike McManus, a member of The Falls Church Anglican, has written today in his nationally syndicated column about the pending decision by the U.S. State Department on whether to declare ISIS’s atrocities against Christians to be genocide.
Faith McDonnell of Church of the Apostles Anglican and the Institute on Religion and Democracy has been tireless in support of the persecuted Church. She also writes about the importance of the genocide designation and urges us to take action.
To give financially in support of the suffering Middle Eastern Christians, please consider the work of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund for Iraqi Christian Relief; Canon White’s ministry, The American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East; and Love for the Least and its ongoing mission work in Northern Iraq.
And please continue to pray—in your own devotions, in your home groups, in your church’s worship. Pray for our most gracious God to protect those who suffer for the Name of Jesus and for him to turn the hearts even of their most hardened persecutors to true repentance and new life in the only Savior of the world.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey