I am sad. I am always sad when I hear or read about people being stifled, faith being hindered or freedom being denied. My sadness often turns to anger when those things happen to followers of Jesus at the hands of others who claim to follow Jesus.
I just read an email from a friend. No matter how much this friend and their spouse (I'm being intentionally vague) invest in ministry, no matter how often they go above and beyond and no matter what God directs them to do...the church and in particularly the leadership of said church continues to degrade, belittle and discourage. I wish I had the words to say or the actions to display to them my love for them and my appreciation for how they answer the call of God and serve the Kingdom daily. I think any words I offer will fall short and any thing I do will in no way be adequate.
As I think back over history it seems that the primary obstacle for people freely following God has not been persecution, beatings or threats from the "world". A majority of killings, threats, beatings and even discouragement has and apparently continues to come from "church". "Church" seems to have ways of keeping you in line, making sure you don't challenge authority and insulating itself from people calling others back to intimacy with God. Sadly enough, the world of corporate church looks too much like a corporation...and operates like one too.
God, today I lift up all of the "prophets" following you and inviting others to do the same. Please protect them from the "priests" in your house...the ones who strive to complete daily, mundane tasks saturated with perfunctory duties, void of your Spirit. Let you light shine and please prevent those who claim to be your church from hiding, ignoring or quenching your light.