While listening to the podcast “Light of the East“, I was touched by the discussion of the plight of Iraqi Christians. I know that many of us think of Iraq as an Islamic country but Christian’s have been in Iraq since the beginning of our church (this pre-dates Islam). The christian population in Iraq is a dwindling minority under constant threat of persecution and death. Many have been forced to flee in order to protect their lives and the lives of their families. They are now refugees in other countries living in poverty. If the persecution continues it is possible that there will no longer be a Christian presence in Iraq. I believe that if this is allowed to happen we will all suffer as a result. It has been said that Christians in Iraq are a buffer between the Islamic east and Christian West. If there are no longer any Christians in Iraq anti-western sentiment will grow unchecked. The Muslim families will no longer have a personal connection with Christian neighbors and Christian families. It is easier to hate the unknown than someone with whom you share a common nationality and history. I ask that you visit the Iraqi Christian Relief Council website to learn more. You can find this documentary on the site as well as others.
Tradition holds that the church in Iraq was founded by St. Thomas and these were the first people to convert as a nation. Christian’s in Iraq have a special connection with our Lord Jesus Christ through their language; Iraqi Christian’s speak Aramaic the same language Jesus spoke. As Christians living free from persecution I believe we have a responsibility to help in any way we can: through prayers, raising our voices, and if possible monetary support. As a Church we are one body in Christ and if one of us is threatened or wounded we are all threatened and wounded.
Please pray and spread the word.
I leave you this week with a prayer from scripture. The words of Jesus in the Gospel of According to St. John (17: 9-11).
I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.