Mar 2016

Is it Easter Yet?

Posted by / in B4Blessing News / No comments yet

It feels like its Good Friday and Easter is a long way away––Good Friday when EVIL prevails over good. Good Friday when the sinless was murdered, and the resurrection was not in sight.

What has happened in Brussels, Istanbul, Ankara, San Bernardino, Paris, and more than we can count is evil – its Good Friday. We ask “why?” we are afraid, what might be around the corner for those WE love?


Mosaic of Mary and Jesus

I was in Istanbul just 3 weeks ago and was struck by Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom. It is one of the 10 oldest churches in the world. Constantine built a church on this site in 360AD when Istanbul was called Constantinople––the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Emperor Justinian built the current structure in 532. It stood as the chief church of the Empire for nearly 1000 years. Filled with beautiful mosaics depicting the life of Christ and the Apostles it was the main place of worship. But it fell into disrepair, as did the Empire.

Along came the Turks and the Ottoman Empire and Hagia Sophia became a mosque. They painted over most of the mosaics, and chipped out the crosses.

Cross chipped out

Cross chipped out

However, it was impossible to remove the crosses and the scar in the marble that was left was also a cross. It was a place of worship for the Turkish Muslims for 500 years. When the Young Turks revolted, Ataturk converted it to a museum, as it is today. It beautifully depicts the struggle between Christianity and Islam.

The struggle we face today is not a new struggle. The Ottoman Empire was the first Caliphate covering most of the Middle East, the Balkans and up to the doors of Europe. The church was is disrepair and it fell to Islam and the Caliphate.

Where are we today on Good Friday? The times are evil. Is the church strong and vibrant? Or is it in disrepair? Only each one of us can say as it is up to each one of us to declare that Easter is just a few days away or that we live in the Evil times of Good Friday.

I lived in Albania in 1998 when el-Qaeda was training the Kosovar Liberation Army for the war in Kosovo. When they were caught by the US government it was declared too dangerous for Americans and we had to leave. It was a Muslim friend who said to me, “Nora, I want you to stay, you know I would defend you with my life.” And I knew he would.

On 9/11 I lived in another Muslim country, Malaysia. I worked for Intel. It was a frightening time. But again, it was a Muslim friend who gave me his card and said, “if you are in any way afraid, call me and I’ll have my driver come to get you.” Intel had many people on temporary assignment in the US; women who wore a headscarf and were now afraid to go out to buy milk. It was American employees who helped them. It was a scary time for us all, but we helped each other.

Hagia Sophia at night

Hagia Sophia at night

Today, in your neighborhood, is it Good Friday? Are you afraid that Evil is in charge? And was Evil ever in charge, even when Christ was on the cross? Of course not, His Father was still sovereign, as He is today. What will we do? How will we live in the midst of evil? Will we be like my Muslim neighbors and friends who reached out to me, or will we be so frightened of each other that we cannot see beyond the headscarves and the TV news to understand people’s fearful hearts. Do we see this as an opportunity to share an Easter message? Or are we caught in the Evil of Good Friday?

May Easter come in each of our hearts.

What do you think? Join the conversation by responding to this blog…This is a subject worth talking about



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