N for Nazarene

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Bob Blincoe from Frontiers, an organization that works with Muslims in the Middle East, brought to my church these tiny mosaics (useful as coasters) made by Iraqi Christians in exile in Jordan. The symbol is the letter N in Arabic. When ISIS invaded Syrian and Iraqi villages they spray-painted Christian homes with this N, standing for Nazarene. It was like being red-tagged by the building department. It meant: either convert to Islam, or get out now, otherwise you will be killed.

It occurred to me that the Iraqi Christians making these mosaics are doing exactly what the earliest Christians did with the cross. They adopted as their own the chilling symbol of oppression and violence used against them. It reminded them of what Jesus the Messiah had suffered, and of what they too might be called on to endure.

Maybe we should put these “N” symbols next to our crosses, to remind us of what they stand for.

The mosaics come from Aslan Child Rescue, an organization working to help churches in the Middle East and in Europe who have opened their doors to persecuted Iraqi Christians.

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3 Responses to “N for Nazarene”

  1. Holly Newman Says:

    Good post, we have one of those too! We partner with Aslan Child Rescue and send people to work with Syrian refugees.

  2. Steve Newman Says:

    Our church is partnering with Aslan Child Rescue for our annual Advent Conspiracy project, which will help Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Middle East and the Christian ministries reaching out to them.

  3. Anastasia Young Says:

    I attend a Coptic church so I meet people all the time who are first generation escapees of this persecution and I always find it very humbling. Thanks for taking the time to share this powerful reminder.

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