Engage Through Compassion

It seems like we went to sleep and the next day Christianity turned into the punching bag of the world. We never saw it coming. Now there is a sort of unwritten rule in the world of media and public opinion forums that says it is okay to take cheap shots at Christians, and especially at evangelicals. Not that we don’t deserve some of the criticism, but today I don’t want to dwell on those.

Rather, I would like to point out that Christians have often been on the forefront of a lot of good that has happened and is still happening in the world. Even today, when natural disaster strikes, after the politicians and the reporters leave, it is often Christian churches that stay and bear the brunt of the recovery work. I know this partially because I spent quite a bit of time in Slidell, LA, after Hurricane Katrina. I can still hear the locals thanking us for repeatedly coming back with teams even though the church I was with at the time was located a thousand miles away.

Christians do the bulk of benevolence and volunteer work around the world. They advocate for the poor and downtrodden. They run orphanages, hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, and drug rehab centers. And they give billions to charity work.

Take just one example: infanticide. From time immemorial this despicable practice was not only legal but encouraged. Parents, both rich and poor, used infanticide as a way of getting rid of children who were deemed weak or undesirable (in the case of girls). Famous politicians and philosophers defended infanticide and considered those who opposed it insane.

But all of that started to change when the Christians stepped on the scene. The earliest Christian document, a sort of Catechism called Didache, dated approximately 90 A.D., strictly prohibited infanticide. Christians began to convert pagans and they began to change. They protested against the practice to influential politicians. They provided alternatives to mothers who would kill or abandon their children to the elements. These Christians were of one mind and they didn’t stop until one bishop Basil finally convinced the Emperor Valentinian to outlaw the practice of infanticide in the Roman Empire.

This Sunday at Grace Church we will be highlighting the plight of those who are considered the “least of these” in our society – children who have no voice. Sadly, even though infanticide is no longer an official policy of any state, we have found other ways of exposing and even killing innocent children whose only “sin” was to have been brought into the world.

But our purpose is not just to protest or commiserate about the plight of at-risk children. We will ask you to take action. NOW (=No Option to Wait). Like the early Christians who provided alternatives to the evils of infanticide, we want you to engage in something that will make a difference.

With that in mind, we will have several organizations who are working to protect children both here and abroad represented at our church this Sunday. They will provide an array of opportunities for us to act. Please don’t miss the chance to be compelled to action by the Holy Spirit.

And if you have friends in the community who are or have in the past adopted or fostered, please give them a special invitation to come. We will be recognizing them publically and give them a gift from our family at Grace Church. Hope to see you there!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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