In the U.S., people of the Christian faith have liberty to meet any time or day of the week for a Bible study. Most who do attend one, either take some form of automobile or public transportation to their Bible study meeting. Some are punctual while others are are persistently late. Yet others, don't attend a meeting at all simply because it is a form of inconvenience to them. There is a country far from the U.S. where this holds to the contrary.
This evening, as I ate my dinner, I skimmed through a faith-based newsletter that features different people who have suffered in the name of Christ Jesus. In this particular issue, a country in the orient was presented and so were some admirable individuals. Although their stories hold an impact upon my life, there was something more to this issue that called out to me.
There are several photos that are grouped together by one caption. In that caption, it is noted that some people traveled secretively by night, through a jungle, and met in a cave. They met there to attend a non-public conference. Additionally, they stayed there for many days studying the sacred writings. Their teacher was a traveler who met them there.
Nothing more is said, but through the photos I can witness the importance that these people held for this conference. There are no visible lights to guide their path through the night. They carry with them the necessary gear for their stay. In their conference, they are actively reading and taking notes at what their teacher is presenting to them. These people risk their lives in the name of Christ Jesus. They risk their health, family, capture, torture, and yes ... death. They know in their hearts what is on the line, yet they boldly go with a faith like no other. They seek to get educated and to be able to share with others, but also to learn more how to endure through unfavorable terms if they are ever captured.
What about the people in the U.S.? Have they become so comfortable that they have little to no idea the cost of being a Christian? There are so many Christians in the U.S. that have ritualized their coming and going to church services. There are so many who have even encouraged the transition of ministering to that of entertaining the church congregation! The Bible studies are filled with a handful of people; they are the true church. They are the ones who stay right with God, study the Bible, pray to God, and serve others under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
You who are Great and Grand! I ask You to wake up our nation, state, city and local congregations. I ask that You remove the veils from their hearts and awaken them to the reality of this world. We have fallen short of Your standards Oh God. Please help us and restore us to Your standards. Standards that edify You and not ourselves. Standards that focus on You and the things of this world or ourselves. Standards that serve others over ourselves, as Your teachings have instructed us to do so. In Jesus name, Amen.
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R. A. Gómez