I think it odd that so many Christians expect a life without struggle. We are taught that God is our protector and provider. We are taught that He will defeat our enemies, yet we encounter enemies around every corner. Some teach that we struggle because we do not have enough faith. They suggest, ‘believe more, and suffer less’ but this is in direct conflict with real life evidence. It is also in conflict with the Holy Scriptures. Try to tell Job to simply believe more and the suffering will disappear. Try telling the countless martyrs of the early Church to simply believe more.
It has become ever more popular to declare a “new persecution” of Christians in 21st century America. I’m not all together disagreeing, as I have blogged about before. The martyrdom of the 21st century (at least the first stage) won’t be bloody. It will be social and economic, but it should be expected. Just take a moment and read today’s Gospel reading below, and you will hear the Lord say, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you…..A servant is not greater than his master.” The world WILL persecute us as Christians. Ok, let’s accept it and move on.
The problem with the contemporary Christian worldview is that it has been tainted by a long history (as a matter of perspective) of governmental endorsement of our Christian worldview. Laws have been passed which support our views. School curricula have been written in support of our Christian views. For a long time, we Christians didn’t have the need to stand up for our faith. The government and society at large were doing it for us.
Now, as our society returns to a more pluralistic mindset, Christian morals are no longer going to necessarily be the majority. As Christians we will no longer be able to depend upon society to raise our children in the faith, and laws and school curricula will change. Ok, let’s accept it and move on.
We must step up to the plate and begin, in earnest, to live the Christian life we claim to believe. That will mean stepping away from certain functions in society that no longer support our Christian way of life. It will even mean that our children will be asked to pass up Sunday travel sports leagues, so they can live in communion with God. It will mean the world will hate us. Ok, let’s accept it and move on. Christ already told us to expect it. It is time for Orthodox schools in every community, Orthodox sporting leagues in every community, Orthodox drama clubs in every community. I dare say the time has come for Orthodox (insert profession here) Societies which will demand our Orthodox Christian moral code rather than that of the world. It is time for us to stand our own, and no longer depend upon society to raise our children. The longer we wait, the more children we will lose to the world.
The Lord said to his disciples: "This I command you, to love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.' But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God." – John 15.17-16.2