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In tribute to the Coptic Christians of Egypt and all Christians being persecuted for their faith today, we present four movements from one of Bach’s cantatas for Easter VII. The text and themes are taken from the Gospel passage, John 15: 26 – 16: 4, in which Jesus warns his disciples that following him will provoke reactions from others that will include banishment and persecution. Indeed, those who will do these things will think they are serving God by getting rid of the Christ-followers.
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
Today, we stand before God and intercede for all those who experience opposition, ill treatment, and even a martyr’s death on account of their faith in Jesus.
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They will banish you.
But the time comes that,whoever puts you to death will think that in this way he is serving God.
Christians must on earth
be true disciples of Christ.
At every hour they should expect,
until they achieve the joy of victory,
torture, banishment and great suffering.
The consolation of Christians is and remains
God’s watchful care over his church.
For even though at times the clouds gather,
yet after the storms of affliction
the sun of joy has soon smiled on us.
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Photo by Chaoyue Pan at Flickr. Creative Commons License