For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church and I invite you to join me.
For Sundays during Lent, I thought I’d look at some of the examples of the faith from Church history. As the author of Hebrews, after listing the heroes of the faith in Chapter 11, writes in chapter 12, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When ISIS released a video showing them beheading 21 Christian men, it was generally reported that they were Egyptian Copts, but on the list of names distributed lacked one name, the worker from Awr village.
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Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian Citizen (Darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When Terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God“ so the terrorist beheaded him also.
In that one moment, he showed more faith and courage than most people will demonstrate in their entire lives.
I think it’s important to remind myself that the “great cloud of witnesses” is not only the famed names like Polycarp and the Apostle Thomas, it’s everyone who has died in Christ. It’s the thief on the cross, and my grandpa, and this brave man who is now my brother in Christ. At first, I felt bad that his name isn’t known, and perhaps it will never be widely known. But, actually, his name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He is part of that Great Cloud of Witnesses and is better known and renowned in eternity than it would ever be on earth.