The Persistence of Persecution, The Greater Persistence of Mission

Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Acts 8:1b-8; John 6:35-40

The persecution of the church is a fact from the earliest days of its existence.  Today in some countries it is sporadic and at other times more systematic and sustained.  In some places it is explicit and direct, and in other places it is more indirect but nonetheless real.  In other places the rights of the church are limited by secularization and attempts to balance the rights of the church and believers against the conflicting rights of others.  In many places the problem is less persecution than ignorance and indifference.

All these situations present challenges for us because the church by its nature is a missionary endeavor.  When persecution in Jerusalem forced him to flee, Philip moved on to Samaria.  He was successful there because he did what Jesus did.  He freely, openly and generously shared with others the Bread of Life that he had received, and they wanted more.

Some 2000 years later, that simple mission remains the same and each of us share in it.—JC