Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.

They have come for us before but it has always made us stronger. They have visited darkness upon us throughout two thousand years of history, yet it has only served to contrast with testaments of courage, love and light. They have danced while covered in Christian blood and celebrated the carnage. Starved and panting lions have been uncaged before. It has all happened before.

Yesterday, Islamist radicals raided a morning Mass in Normandy, France and beheaded an 86 year old priest. One nun, reportedly named Sister Danielle, was taken hostage and described the awful scene. “They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,” she reportedly said. “They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror.”

Christianity is replete with similar stories. Yet atrocities and horrors have not crippled the spread of the gospel. In fact, the counterintuitive nature of Christianity’s advancement puzzles the world, which seems unwilling to understand that sacrifice and martyrdom only highlight for us that we are followers of a crucified Christ. It is Christians willingness to live and die to spread a message of love that sets us apart, not a willingness to kill.

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