Martyrs for the Lord:
From the time the church was birthed on the day of Pentecost
The followers of the Lord have willingly sacrificed themselves
Tens of thousands have died that the gospel might prosper
As such they have obtained the crown of life.
To be a martyr for the Lord, to be a martyr for the Lord
I am willing to die gloriously for the Lord.
Those apostles who loved the Lord to the end
Willingly followed the Lord down the path of suffering
John was exiled to the lonely isle of Patmos
Stephen was stoned to death by an angry crowd.
Matthew was stabbed to death in Persia by a mob
Mark died as horses pulled his two legs apart
Doctor Luke was cruelly hanged
Peter, Philip, and Simon were crucified on a cross.
Bartholomew was skinned alive by the heathen
Thomas died in India as five horses pulled his body apart
The apostle James was beheaded by King Herod
Little James was cut in half by a sharp saw.
James the brother of the Lord was stoned to death
Judas was tied to a pillar and shot by arrows
Matthias had his head cut off in Jerusalem
Paul was a martyr under Emperor Nero.
I am willing to take up a cross and go forward
To follow the apostles down the road of sacrifice
That tens of thousands of precious souls can be saved
I am willing to leave all and be a martyr for the Lord.
These are the Lyrics to a song that Brother Yun and fellow believers sang through the night, as they literally risked their lives in order to meet and worship in unity. I hope that you did not skim over the words, but that you read them and let them sink in deeply. Though it may seem foul and morbid to us, this song is sung as a comfort and encouragement by people who face bone-breaking, life threatening persecution each day. After reading it over a few times, letting the disgust and deep hatred for evil pass over, I tried to imagine singing this song in an American church service. I imagined the look of confusion and disgust on people's faces, mother's covering their children's ears, or leaving the service all together. There would be straight up outrage by the congregation, demanding to know why such horrible graphics were necessary in a place of good, God-fearing people. Why would a church expose our children to such morbidity? We have movies for that! This is church for God's sake!
We are a shallow nation. I am not an America-hater, I love my country. But let's be honest, we are a shallow people. When our pastors preach on persecution, our minds picture things like kids being made fun of in school or unfair treatment in the work place. We think of nasty looks or words spoken of believers. The "prosecution" we face in this country is rarely more than a blow to our pride. We sing songs about how great God is and how we'll trust and follow Him to the grave, but how often do we process the severity of those words? If instead words of mutilation, amputation, and deadly abuse were used to declare our dedication, would we sing so loudly? Would we raise our hands so high? Would we be able to sing with closed eyes, smiles, and peace in our hearts? Or would we shake in fear and disgust? Would we even be half as willing to tithe our measly 10% to a place that promised pain and suffering on this earth, instead of coffee and catchy tunes?
Whether we are called overseas or serve from our home country, we will not be able to hide behind our country's claims of freedom forever. When that day comes, will God still be our refuge? Will we still run to the church to praise? I ask myself these questions and too often I am unsure of the answer. God is my strength, I say. But too often I can not even admit my own weakness. God's name is slapped onto many faces, causes, and systems in our country. We have replaced His cross and crown of thorns with rose petals and pillowed church pews. We will easily be swept up and lost in the waves of shallow morality if we do not take to heart the severity of what it really means to be a follower of Christ. Does that scare you as much as it scares me?