This week is Holy Week. It’s a big week for Christians. It’s the time we pause to reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who took on human nature precisely so he …
This week is Holy Week. It’s a big week for Christians. It’s the time we pause to reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who took on human nature precisely so he could suffer, die on the cross and rise from the dead on Easter Sunday…and in the process gain our salvation.
On Holy Thursday, Christ knew exactly what was going to happen to him the next day. He did not want to endure that suffering and asked his Father if it were possible to avoid the agony that awaited Him. We know the outcome.
We Christians do not know precisely what is in store for us, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is on a mission to make life miserable for Christians and people of other religions as well. Members of the CCP detest religions of all flavors, viewing religions as an obstacle to Communist domination of the world.
Most of us are aware China has up to two million Uighurs (Muslims from a region in western China) in labor camps. In addition, China rules the area of Tibet in much the same manner it deals with the Uighurs, ruthlessly suppressing Hindu priests and nuns, on a number of occasions destroying their monasteries and killing their religious leaders.
Christians around the world are being suppressed by not only the CCP, but also by Muslim and Hindu groups as well. But it is Communism that provides the major threat to Christianity and other religions…to all people, regardless of religion.
In prior columns I’ve spoken about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident who deserves much of the credit for toppling the Soviet Union. In 1983 Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. In accepting the prize, he delivered an address that should have received more emphasis from church leaders everywhere. He warned of Communism. He told how tens of thousand of churches were torn down or desecrated in the Soviet Union, with cities of half a million inhabitants being left without a single church.
“During the 65 years of Communist rule,” he said, the Eastern Orthodox Church “has been subjected to persecution even fiercer and more extensive than that of early Christian times…”
Tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns died at the hands of a Communist tyranny, that according to Solzhenitsyn, also killed at least 60 million Russians.
Solzhenitsyn left people of good will with hope. “All the savage persecutions loosed upon our people by a murderous state atheism, coupled with the corroding effect of its lies, and an avalanche of stultifying propaganda – all of these together have proven weaker than the thousand-year-old faith of our nation. This faith has not been destroyed; it remains the most sublime, the most cherished gift to which our lives and consciousness can attain.”
Solzhenitsyn also had an explanation for all of the disasters that have befallen the Soviet Union and Russia in the past century. He recalls as a youth older people saying, “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
He continued, “But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
Let’s not repeat Russia’s mistake.