Do this or Else
It reads like a modern-day version of the ancient martyr stories. I won’t champion one news agency over another, so do yourself a favor and google Ivan Provorov and his refusal to wear a pride jersey at a recent hockey game. You will find stories which read like the ancient synaxarion. “Wear this jersey or else!”
It wasn’t too long ago when refusing to participate in the national anthem was the scandal du jour. Then too people were demanding players participate while others on the opposite of the aisle praised the refusal. Does anyone even remember when Tim Tebow was ridiculed for kneeling in prayer? Every day is a different scandal, but this one hit me because of the way the narratives are written. “Do this or else” was what Christian have heard for centuries of persecution. Is this the trend of the future?
We’re dreaming if we think anything different will come of this recent scandal. There is a difference between the national anthem and a pride jersey. One is political. One is moral. Alas, we can be comforted knowing this was always anticipated by Christ.
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”Luke 6.17-23
Take heart my brothers and sisters. The persecution is at our door step. We will no longer be expected just to sit back and allow ‘others’ to behave in a certain expected way. WE will be expected to ‘do this or else’ suffer the consequences. My fear……most of us will not be willing to stand the consequences. Many of us will indeed bow to the pressure. Lord have mercy.
Trust Christ. Trust His Church. Rejoice in the day you are persecuted for Christ.