Christians in Iran are preparing to celebrate Easter just like us. Remembering Jesus’ death and glorious resurrection is a special time for the house churches: there will be jubilant gatherings, large meals shared and joyful prayer and worship.
But unlike for us, the Easter period ushers in not only joy, but also risk
The Iranian authorities are known to intensify persecution at times of particular significance for the church. Last year, a group of Christians were arrested in Tehran during an Easter service. As they gather this Easter, Christians will be all too aware that this time it could be their church that is discovered; it could be them that will be arrested and interrogated; it could be their leader that must serve a long prison sentence.
Hope and joy - tinged with fear
But perhaps with this risk comes a deeper grasp of the first Easter. Familiar with fear, pain, and confusion, the church in Iran knows something of the heavy darkness of Good Friday. Familiar with a sense of abandonment, despair and frustrated waiting, the church in Iran knows something of the deafening silence of Easter Saturday. And familiar with seeing goodness and growth come out of what man intended for evil, the church in Iran knows something of the victory and joy of Easter Sunday.
The Iranian church lives in this Easter rhythm
This Easter, as they gaze upon the God-man who willingly bore agony and despair for us and won victory for us, let us pray that the church in Iran would draw closer to Him. Let’s pray that both those that are suffering and those that are free would go deeper in faith, love and maturity.
Over the Easter weekend, please take a few minutes to pray for the church in Iran. Especially for:
- New believers who are celebrating their first Easter
- Those believers who are spending Easter behind bars
- The families of Christian prisoners
- Seekers to turn to Jesus
- House churches to remain undiscovered
- Those who may be arrested to be comforted and strengthened in the Lord
May the Lord bless you this Easter.
"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)