Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

Per­haps sur­pris­ingly this isn’t a let­ter about the in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum!

While we Scots can get ob­sessed with our do­mes­tic pol­i­tics, their im­por­tance pales to in­signif­i­cance when we look at the wider world around us.

Gaza, Syria, Iraq: the atro­cious vi­o­lence of the Mid­dle-East must con­tinue to shock us.

All of it is ter­ri­ble, but as a Church we’ve been par­tic­u­larly dis­tressed by the or­deal of the Christians of North­ern Iraq who have been suf­fer­ing sys­tem­atic per­se­cu­tion, evic­tion, and death at the hands of the ex­trem­ist ji­hadists of ISIS. In re­cent days we’ve heard re­ports of fur­ther atroc­i­ties and even the be­head­ing of chil­dren.

Iraqi Christians were forced to flee the north­ern city of Mo­sul un­der threat of forced con­ver­sion or ex­e­cu­tion have spo­ken of their ter­ror as churches were turned into mosques and their homes and prop­erty con­fis­cated. Christians were given a stark choice: con­vert to Is­lam, pay a re­li­gious tax, or face death.

In the 1990s there were two mil­lion Christians in Iraq – re­ports say there are now only 200,000. There are now none in Mo­sul. This an­cient peo­ple, who’ve been there 2000 years , are now in dan­ger of to­tal de­struc­tion.

Yet, hope comes when we in­sist that they are not alone. St Paul wrote to the Corinthi­ans “if one part of the body suf­fers, all suf­fer to­gether.”

He was speak­ing of the world­wide Church, which is the Body of Christ in the world. And one good thing is that Christians are re­minded that we have broth­ers and sisters all over the world, and that their tears must be ours, and we must pray for them, and call for in­ter­na­tional ac­tion to end their suf­fer­ing. Please join us in that prayer. Alis­tair May, Stonelaw Par­ish Church.

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