From: Kyle Sandison
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Hebrews 10.32-34
When I read passages like Hebrews 10.32-34, I'm amazed by the sufferings of the early church. Being a Christian often meant struggle, public humiliation, persecution, even death. It meant having your property plundered. And apparently, these early Christians not only endured, but "joyfully accepted" that plundering. They knew they had a better and more lasting possession in Christ. They knew this truth so deeply that they met painful suffering with the joy they had in Christ.
One phrase really struck me: "Being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated." Apparently, even when these early Christians had themselves escaped affliction, they continued to stand by those who were going through hardship. I'm guessing this resulted in even more hardship for them.
I'm thankful I live in a place where persecution and public affliction are not my reality as a Christian. But I'm reminded that we have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who are suffering on behalf our faith. I wonder what it looks like for us to "be partners with those who are so treated." I wonder how we might share the burden borne by our brothers and sisters who suffer such affliction, even if it means more hardship for us. I hope and pray that as a church we can be encouraged by this example from Hebrews to know more deeply that we have a better and more lasting possession in Christ. Rooted in that knowledge, we can boldly partner with those who are burdened with suffering and affliction.
I and my wife, Hanne, attended Church of the Cross from 2013-2016. We currently live in New Orleans where Hanne works as a law clerk and I serve as a Pastoral Intern at St. Peter's Presbyterian Church. We miss our time at CotC and hope you are all well!