In the Pakistan city of Lahore, a city that has seen an increasing amount of Islamic-extremist attacks and violence, a symbol of peace and reconciliation is being constructed – a 42 metre high cross.
The cross is being built by a businessman, Parvez Henry Gill. Gill said he had a dream some two years ago in which God told him to do something for his community.
“I want to show the world the Christian community in Pakistan has religious freedom,” he said.
Persecution against Christians is rising in Pakistan, where they face mob violence in blasphemy cases, often the result of false allegations over personal disputes. Under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting Islam, the Prophet Muhammad or other religious Islamic figures can be sentenced to death.
Christians also face extremist attacks. A Taliban suicide attack outside two churches in Lahore in March killed 15 people. In 2013, another Taliban suicide attack killed more than 80 people at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.
The cross, which his due to be completed this year, stands at the entrance of a Christian cemetery in the centre of Karachi. The cemetery is nearly 200 years old, and its administrators will take care of the cross once building has finished.
The construction of the cross came as a surprise to many people, but Bishop Sadiq Danial of Church of Pakistan, said he has offered to demolish the cross if it becomes too divisive. However, he doubts that would happen, as he said: “We spread peace.”
- Give thanks for the courage of this business man in building a cross, that will be visible to many people in Lahore. Pray that the message of the Gospel of peace and reconciliation will also be heard and bear fruit in this city.
- Pray for Christians across Pakistan, who face growing persecution and oppression. Pray for them to grow in faith and courage.
- Pray for Pakistan as is struggles to control the rise of Islamic extremism. Pray for the government to actively seek to protect Christians and allow freedom of worship.
John 12 vs 32: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’”