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Many killed and many more injured outside amusement park in Pakistan on Easter. (Photo: CNN)

We move now from the cavernous void of Easter Sunday’s empty tomb to the empty void of piteous loss for Christians who follow in Christ’s footsteps. Almost three years ago Matthew Fisher wrote, “It’s open season on Christians in the Muslim world“; it sounded forth as a silent echo to a western world that is largely apathetic to the news. It is not popular to suggest that Christians are experiencing genocide in what is known as the 10-40 Window, but this weekend’s blast outside an amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan has made it uncomfortable to ignore.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) On Easter Sunday, a crisp spring day, some of the city’s Christian population mingled with their Muslim neighbors, celebrating in a neighborhood park — taking their kids on rides or pushing them on swings. Then, the sound of tragedy.

Without warning, a blast tore through the park, killing indiscriminately. Because of the innocent setting, an unusually high number of those injured were women and children. But the attack, claimed by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, intentionally targeted Christians, the perpetrators say.

The suicide blast, in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore, killed at least 69 people, a local government spokesman told CNN. More than 341 others were injured, according to Punjab government spokesperson.

Christians excluded from Classification of Genocide till now

Even U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry had to admit against the current of popular apathy or antagonism against Christians that indeed, “Christians are experiencing genocide by ISIS for their faith.” Not for anything antagonistic they are doing, but by virtue of having faith in Christ.

If Christians are excluded from the classification of genocide, we will be responsible for a greater and more ruthless campaign of persecution against them,” said Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, one of the speakers at the National Press Club. “We cannot declare genocide for Yazidis and not Christians if they are suffering the safe fate at the hands of the same perpetrators at the same time under the same conditions.

Lament in Lahore. (Photo: CNN)

Lament in Lahore. (Photo: CNN)

Who are the Pakistani Christians?

The majority of Pakistan’s Christians are descended from low-caste Hindus who converted under the British Raj, in part to escape the caste system.

Many provided labour in garrison towns and every cantonment city has an area known as Lal Kurti, traditionally the area where Christians reside. But Christian communities remain in the poorest sector of society doing menial jobs. Entire villages in parts of Punjab are Christian with inhabitants working as labourers and farmhands.

And… why should I care?

As apathy turns to antagonism in the 10-40 Window, it appears to be creeping in the Western world. I have already reported how attitudes and laws are increasingly antagonistic against Christians in Canada. As certain jobs become closed off to those who profess Christian faith, another dirty little secret is how Churches in Canada continue to be vandalized every bit as much as Synagogues or Mosques (not as if this is a contest). All the while there is an overt focus on the West’s phobia of Muslims. Its hard to have thoughtful discourse in a seven-second soundbite media climate.

Meanwhile,  another story is Under-reported:

The majority of Syrians and other refugees who come to Canada are being sponsored – not primarily by Muslims in Canada, or by well meaning liberal-minded Canadians, but by… Christians. Refugees are being sponsored – not to convert them, ghettoize them, or use them – they are being sponsored out of simple Christian love. Don’t these Christians know their brothers and sisters in Christ are being annihilated in the very nations from which refugees are escaping?

Yes we know. And we also know Muslim refugees are being killed right along side Christians too. There have been stories where Christians have formed a human chain to protect Muslims at prayer in Egypt, and where Muslims have formed a human chain to protect Christians in Pakistan.

Muslims forming human chain to protect Christians.

Muslims forming human chain to protect Christians. (Photo: Malik Shafi, Huffpost)

What Christians in the 10-40 Window are not doing:

  • they are not forming militias;
  • they are not building walls;
  • they are not retaliating.

And neither should we! Why not?

I contend that followers of Christ who get it; who understand the shortness of this life (anyways) and the eternal nature of true life; who trust in God rather than in military might; who understand the person, work, and teaching of Christ – put away their sword, pick up their cross, and follow Christ through the valleys, on the mountain tops, into the fields, and along the byways of society – all the way to the Cross. There is no escaping the death of self-will.

The Place of Suffering in the Journey

For the person who would follow Christ,” Bonhoeffer writes, “the cross is not the horrible end of a pious, happy, life, but stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death… Whether we really found God’s peace will be shown by how we deal with the suffering that will come upon us.

It may be open season, but it is our season; it is the season to grow till harvested; it is the season that we walk with the One who made us for Himself. Therefore: may we be found to be more like Christ than like the world; more like Christ than like terrorists; more like Christ as peacemaker.

Amen?

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