Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful for the freedom to assemble...

During a regular Wednesday night prayer meeting, our pastor did something unusual.  He had us turn out all the lights in the home we were meeting in, and we sat in silence as we considered what it might be like for brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who must worship our Savior this way.  It was a bold, dramatic thing to be sitting there contemplating the feelings they must have each time they gather.  I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness for my fellow Christians, a bit of anxiousness as I thought about what it would be like to sit in prayer when a member of the police or government stormed the door and arrested us, and about how much I take for granted that we can assemble anywhere, anytime here in America.  My heart was overcome as images of brothers and sisters in the Lord who have visited us tell about the persecution they often dodge in their homelands, but I am also reminded of the way those things have changed over the years in previously Communist, Iron Curtain countries!  These situations, the rules, regulations and policies are subject to change!  And that is the Hope of Glory, Christ in us!!

Things that we discussed during this time were that women who attended the meeting without a male family member would be arrested, female members attending, with or without male family members, who did not have their heads covered would be arrested, and having Bibles would cause the others to be arrested.  This is deep...It is also a great reason to hide the Word in our hearts!  If we have the Word in us, nothing can separate us from the Lord.  It doesn't get much better than that, right?

Well, thankfully, we live in a country where open praise and worship, regular church attendance, and prayer is acceptable and accepted!  We should be thankful for that and mindful of those who do not enjoy this freedom, too.  We are called to intercession for our fellow Christians who are under persecution for their faith, and to fight the good fight alongside them in prayer.  It is a spiritual battle we are fighting here and we must maintain our assembling at church, at home prayer meetings, at Bible studies, any time our brothers and sisters in our church gather, we should be there!!!  There may come a time soon when we no longer possess this awesome freedom...

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