I’ve been following the story of Christian persecution in Iraq for weeks.  A violent extremist group has been terrorizing Christians and other religious minorities, despite them having coexisted peacefully for centuries.

Most of this news I’ve seen on social media, and a lot of it has been attached to comments where people wondered why isn’t the world doing something?  The world seemed to be focused on Ukraine and Israel and Gaza, and no one was noticing Iraq.

There were protests at Queen’s Park, people changing their profile pics on Facebook, and more.  People shared news articles left and right, but I was always aware that a lot of people on my social media feeds are Christians, and the story may not really be mainstream.  Many just felt helpless, asking if the world would ever notice the genocide in progress.

Well, I felt a palpable sense of relief the evening of August 7th when my CBC news app sent me an alert that President Obama was going to intervene and stop the violence with selective airstrikes.  The morning of August 8th, they reported an artillery unit had already been taken out.  Concentrated on an area where 40,000 people are hiding in mountains to escape harm.

Now I never want to rejoice at someone’s death, which surely happens when even selective airstrikes are called in.  But there was relief for people in a hopeless situation.  Someone had noticed the plight of these Christians and other minorities, and was destroying the weaponry that they used to commit their atrocities.  A powerful nation with troops and airplanes in the region had finally noticed and was taking action.

We can experience the same kind of relief if we read the end of the Book of Acts.  It seems like Paul is in serious trouble, as he escapes riot after riot because of his preaching, and then finally goes too far.  The silver lining, we’ll see, is that he ends up getting an audience with powerful local rulers and even appeals to the emperor, Caesar.  We’ll read a snippet of the story tomorrow, but first:

Question: Who is the most powerful person who has helped you?  How did it feel?

Meeting with a Group?  Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide

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Two Dates to Remember:

  • Our Outdoor Movie Night Returns – September 19th at 7:30pm in Ajax – More Info