Think Friday: Ramadan, Persecution & The Turner Prize
This week we look at a number of stories around the theme of freedom. It is too early to comment on the local elections - though they remind us of the freedom we have to vote in our country.
The Turner Prize is a major arts award that was to be sponsored by Stagecoach South East, a local bus company. But because the parent company is owned by a Christian, who supports marriage between a man and a woman, artists were up in arms. The freedom of the public square continues to be under pressure.
But it is important not to confuse the above story with the persecution being suffered by Christians around the world. The Bishop of Truro has been asked to look at this by the Foreign Office and in his interim report he has commented - “The inconvenient truth is that the overwhelming majority (80%) of persecuted religious believers are Christians”. A reminder that many do not have the freedoms we can take for granted.
A significant amount of this persecution occurs in Muslim countries and the recent bombings in Sri Lanka were a reminder of the risks some face in following Jesus. Ramadan begins on Monday and it is so important that we are praying for Christians in Muslim-majority countries, but also praying that the one billion Muslims in the world meet Jesus. Churches, ministries, and individuals from many denominations regularly participate in an ongoing prayer focus on the Muslim world over Ramadan, which in 2019 begins on 6 May and concludes on 4 June. This prayer guide booklet— available each year in both adult and kids versions — produced by 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World is a proven tool to help Christians to understand and to persistently pray for Muslim neighbours and nations.
As Paul reminded the Galatians, “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free - stand firm then and don’t allow yourselves to become slaves again” (Gal 5:1).