Love, Then Love Again

Posted: November 13, 2019 in Meditations

Protestors dragged church pews, statues of Jesus and other religious iconography out through the doors of the historic building before defacing it

I watched young Antifa thugs gut a Catholic church in Santiago, Chile this past weekend. Dressed in black, individuals carried out statues of saints, the virgin Mary, Jesus Christ – the statue of Christ, beaten, pierced and dead seemed so ironic. Paintings, altars, and finally the pews got stacked in the street atop a rubble of shattered statuary. Doused in gasoline, a march did the rest. Billows of mottled black and gray smoke rose high above the city skyline. None of this hideous act was done in the dark of night. Crowds milled on this street in broad daylight. Nobody raised a hand in protest. Most striking, police were nowhere to be found. As I write, five churches have been destroyed in this past week.

This was a humble church on the poor side of town. Why? Why would protesters attack the dreams and sacrifices of generations of Christians, people who toiled in conditions far worse than those faced by this generation? The selfishness, the lack of respect, the hate – it all boggles my mind. I weep for the parishioners who lost their church, who face the venom of godless persecution. I weep for the Catholic church, the increasing target of hate in the world. I am not Catholic but I am a Christian. I feel the pain of this offense. An attack on the Catholic church is an attack on the Bride of Christ, the greater Church, God’s kingdom on earth.

The blood of martyrs has watered the church throughout history. Jesus warned his disciples early on, “You will endure persecution. Men will hate you, they will revile you because of me.” Even so, Jesus commanded all of us, “But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44,45 Folks, this is not natural. How does a normal human being react to the senseless destruction of a humble church? Let me indulge myself – I’m mad as hell. I want justice, I want vengeance, I want restitution. And where are the police? I demand an investigation. I demand arrests, convictions, and draconian punishments. My pain demands pain, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a  tooth. That is my flesh. Obviously Christ demands something else.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24,25 Don’t waste your time looking for this kind of goodness within yourself. You won’t find it. This kind of love only comes from a full surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit. No, you cannot hold unto the pain. You cannot feed it by any justification. Give it all to Jesus, every drop of pain and bitterness. Only then can wounds be bound, only then can the love of God flow freely. I still marvel at the last words of the martyr Stephen, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” Pray, love, then love again. God will do the rest. God will have his way.

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