The other day, I came across a monologue called "Unafraid," about a young girl from Somalia whose father was a missionary. His passion for sharing Christ landed him in jail and he was beaten because he was Christian. Nevertheless he continued teaching about Jesus to the prisoners and to everyone around him.
One night, when Rebekah was 15, he asked her to continue spreading the word about Jesus. He said the world needs Jesus so never stop proclaiming His name, even if it means death. The next day her father was arrested again and he never returned.
A couple years went by and an opportunity arose for Rebekah to lead a prayer vigil. Others joined her and gathered to pray and fast for their families, government and nation. After three days, tanks rolled in. Tear gas was thrown at them and a dozen people were killed. Rebekah was arrested. Before she was persecuted she tells how sad it was to know of those who have the freedom of religion and can exercise their right to worship God and yet sometimes don't do it or do very little to show it. She questions why they were afraid, "what's holding us back from doing whatever it takes to be Jesus' disciples."
Rebekah was not afraid to give her life for Jesus. He paid the ultimate price for all of us and she was willing to give her life for Him.
This monologue was very powerful and it is happening to Christians in other parts of the world today.
As we begin our Lenten journey, a time for conversion and renewing of our faith, let us pray for those who are being persecuted and those who persecute them. Let us take a stance whenever it is possible to speak out against these atrocities. As I think about those who are being persecuted, I wonder what I would do in the face of this. In our journey here in Buffalo, we may not have to face being persecuted. Yet being Christian is difficult at times because being Christian means being very different as the Gospel teaches and calls us to be. We may want to take the easy way out. We may want to ignore the injustices that we see happening all around us. We may want to close our eyes and stay blind to all of it. Yet the Lord challenges us to take a road we may not be comfortable with; it may be a road that is very difficult, that may cause us some pain.
As we journey through Lent let us pray: Loving and powerful Lord, take my blinders off. Open my eyes so that I can love others as Jesus loves me. Help me to be unafraid of the challenges that I'm confronted with. May I be unafraid to speak out against the injustices. May I be unafraid to share my faith with all those around me. May I be unafraid to let the Spirit of God's healing power work within me to mend that which may need healing. Amen.