One of the things we regularly hear is how wonderful our Christian community is here in our little town. And it really is. We have many faithful churches, a Christian college downtown, Logos School, home-school groups, Canon Press, and many flourishing businesses owned and operated by Christian people. We have many opportunities to celebrate together at weddings, showers, potlucks, prayer groups, book groups, Bible studies, psalm sings, and women’s fellowship gatherings. And when a need arises through illness or loss, meals are made and varieties of help are sent. And I only know the half of it. Most of this happens from the ground up. It is not always “organized” by the church proper, but rather the saints are simply active, engaged, and hungry to give and serve one another. It is such an outpouring, it is hard to believe unless you have seen it with your own eyes. God has clearly blessed our community in a remarkable way.
Not only has God blessed us with rich fellowship, but He also blesses us with an occasional outburst of slander against our church. Back in the 1980’s, it was confined to the front page of our daily small-town paper and the letters-to-the-editor section. (Nothing like slander to sell papers when there’s not much else happening.) Then as the years went by, the internet provided an easy way to sponsor a slanderous outburst (no editors to deal with, so everyone can participate in spreading lies and venting bitterness, even with bad spelling).And so it goes.
I haven’t kept track, but it seems to erupt every few years. In fact, this is the second time I have had a beautiful grandchild born in the midst of “public calumny” against my husband. (I couldn’t keep the news out of this post that Moses Henry Jankovic was born two days ago!) I have come to believe that this strange phenomenon is a significant part of the reason for the rich blessings of our community life that I described above. Here’s why I believe this: Jesus said so.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11).
In other words, when our church and pastor are lied about, we are blessed. And so our church community benefits from these large doses of slander every so often because they are actually large doses of blessing. Our job is to rejoice and be extra glad during these times because a reward for us is accumulating in heaven. I believe this Read More