Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shining on

So, the Olympics are over—the flame extinguished, the stadium empty, the television stations back to their regular schedules. But there continue to be plenty of reasons to uphold China in prayer. And even though the newspapers may have moved their spotlight away from China, news services dealing with Christian persecution continue to release reports confirming the country as an environment of opposition for Christians.

One such report is the recent arrest of Bishop Jia Zhiguo on August 24, shortly before the Olympic ceremonies had concluded. The elderly leader was dragged out of a cathedral in Wuqiu where he had attended a morning mass service. He has reportedly been taken to an unknown location.

This is hardly the first time Zhiguo has faced persecution. In fact, this is the twelfth time he has been arrested by police and he has been under house arrest for months. During the Olympics, the government had him under 24-hour surveillance by police. Police had even built a shack outside his home so they could keep him under close watch.

One priest made the following comment in response to the bishop's arrest: “After the Olympics, everything is back to the way it was before in China.”

It’s easy to see the truth behind such a statement. It's would be easy also to get discouraged or dismayed by it. The key, of course, is being compelled to prayer by such words. Prayers of supplication, yes, but we can continue to say prayers of joy too. After all, before the Olympics, we heard incredible testimonies of believers refusing to deny their faith in Christ despite threats, harassment, and imprisonment. Before the Olympics, more and more Christians were becoming aware of the trials facing fellow believers in China. Before the Olympics, nonbelievers--even persecutors--were coming to faith in Christ.

There was hope that the event would help change China for the better--or at least that the promises made during by the government regarding improvements in human rights would be kept. But it's a truth undeniable that God was at work in this country long before there word "Olympics" was even uttered there. And he will continue to be. The Olympic flame may be extinguished, but the light of His faithfulness shines on.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Is anyone going to hold China to account on the promises it made that hosting the Olympics would improve human rights in China?

China’s officials must let people practice whatever religion or spiritual practice they choose. Just like they must let journalists go about their business without censorship, and let peaceful human rights defenders campaign on whatever issues they like, and just like they must let ethnic minorities to express their culture

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