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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Where have all the flowers gone?

That old song from the 60s came to mind when I read one of my e-mails a few minutes ago.  However, I changed the words, ever so slightly, to "Where have all the Christians gone?"

The catalyst for that thought was this message from Open Doors - one of the organisations that supports persecuted Christians in many countries around the world.  You may find out more about them by following the link further down on this page.  The start of the message was:

"Tomorrow, thanks to the incredible 309,195 people who signed the Save Syria petition, the voice of Christians in Syria will be heard at the UN and in capital cities around the world.

We stand amazed and humbled. A wonderful 309,195 people in 99 countries around the world - including 74,002 from the UK & [the Republic of] Ireland - have signed the Save Syria petition. Each one has said that they want to stand alongside the church in Syria, ensuring that Christians there have a voice and are not forgotten.

Please join us in praising God for this wonderful response! Thank you so much to all of you who signed and encouraged friends, family, church and even people on the local high street to sign too!"

It was those numbers that hit me!   74,002 from the whole of the British Isles!  That is out of a total population of approximately 65 million!  Now, of course, that includes children, as well as people who would not sign anything unless their own life literally depended on it.  However, if we deduct even 50% that still leaves more than 32 million - which would mean that only one person in approximately 440 cared enough to add their name in support of those who are suffering so much in Syria, even as I type.  

I thought a little more.  If even less than a quarter of that 50% were Christian, we have a scenario in which, if my calculations are correct, only 1 in 100 (1%) of people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ signed.  Let's be very generous, and assume that half of them didn't know about the petition (in which case I would encourage them to forget East Enders, Corrie, and the X Factor, and check up on what is happening in the world beyond their own living rooms!).  However, that would still mean that only 1 in 50 (2%) could be bothered.

So forgive me if I am not as "amazed and humbled" as are the good folk at Open Doors.  Personally, I feel rather ashamed that so few in the British Isles were willing to support Syria in a time of great need.  I won't even start on the rest of the world!

If you didn't sign, then I urge you to pray - with passion, with persistence, with pertinacity. 

Oh, and do look out for further opportunities to support those who suffer privations such as most of us can barely imagine.  You know that you should!

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