The Fellowship of The Suffering is the title of my first post for Faith & Chelsen: Tackling Tough Topics in Church and Culture, the new blog that IRD Evangelical Action director, Chelsen Vicari, and I are writing for Patheos. You can read the post at the Patheos site, as well as Chelsen’s first post, and the introductory post that we co-wrote.
We are grateful for the opportunity to share with new readers through Patheos the things in life about which we are most passionate…as a former pastor of mine used to say, “the things that make you pound the table!” Well, the bottom of my fist has been bruised for quite a few years now over the plight of our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for the sake of the Gospel. And even more so over the lack of response to their persecution — for the most part — by the churches in West.
I said in my Patheos blog post:
We are all members of one Body. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12: 26, “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering.” In Philippians 3, Paul said that he wanted to know Christ not only in “the power of His resurrection,” but also “the fellowship of His sufferings.” That Paul! Always pushing the envelope! We may never face an executioner’s sword, like Paul, but we Christians in the West can share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings too, when we share the suffering of those in Christ’s Body who are part of the Fellowship of The Suffering.
Most Christians in the West are not all that eager to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. We’re not even too eager to talk about the sufferings experienced by our fellow believers around the world because that moves persecution from the abstract to the concrete.
But in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters we also see the joy of knowing Jesus, the peace that passes all human understanding, and the resurrection power of God that triumphs over evil and the grave. I will be writing about that in the future on the Faith & Chelsen Patheos blog.
Please do read the posts that Chelsen and I write on the Patheos blog. I would also very much appreciate it if you would not only “like” or “share” the posts, but offer a comment, question, or suggestion. If you have taken the suffering of Christ’s Body into your heart, please share the ways in which you remind yourself to pray for persecuted Christians. Let’s encourage each other to be true brothers and sisters to them.