I was floored by the responses to my post on Monday, documenting the state of NYC after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Thank you to everyone who commented and passed it along to family and friends.
In the post, I recounted my visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the Sunday after the Court’s decision, and how every entrance to the church, and the whole perimeter in itself, minus one side door, was barricaded with police barricades.
It was absolutely surreal, walking up to the church to go to Mass, only to find that it was completely guarded by armed policemen with large rifles, and personally getting searched before entering through covert entrance, as though I was heading into a bunker or something.
That whole episode really stuck with me all week.
What has become of our world where, in order to go worship, you have to face the threat of imminent personal danger?
I mean, really?
Going to Mass in a barricaded building complete with bomb sniffing dogs?
If the threat of Covid scared people (myself included) away from attending church in person, imagine how this new threat of attack is going to fare on people!?!
But I will say — even with the threat of a “Weekend of Terror” following the Court’s decision, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was still packed with Mass attendants.
They have Mass every hour on the hour, pretty much, on Sunday. And though we were at an “off-peak” time: 1:00, it was still fully attended with people, who, truly in this climate, put their lives on the line to be there.
Which is something that I’ve really been contemplating recently: what are we willing to risk to follow Jesus?
What am I willing to risk?
Because frankly, it took every ounce of courage to publish Monday’s article, fearful that people I know in my “everyday life” would come across it, and disapprove of my beliefs. What am I willing to risk?
If going to Mass means that, especially here in NYC, I’m putting my safety in jeopardy, given the hostile nature of this city, and the extremes people will go to in order to express their rage over the Court’s decision? What am I willing to risk?
If I’m unwilling to join a conversation about abortion and make my beliefs know, for fear of offending a friend…what am I willing to risk?
We have two options: we can be like the disciples, who hid in the upper room after Jesus’ death, controlled by fear. Or, we can listen to Jesus’ instruction in Matt 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.“
Faith from behind the barricades takes courage. It forces you to look potential danger in the eye, and say “Yes” to God with your presence at the sanctuary. Jesus never said that following Him would be easy, safe or popular. But rather, that we would be hated, persecuted, martyred, and mocked. Just like HIm.
My one final thought, is that the danger with barricades is that, though they keep the “bad” from coming in, they can also intimidate us to keep the “good” from getting “out.”
My prayer is that we, as a body of believers, do not let their intimidation plays snuff out our faith. Though they may vandalize, protest, and act with violence towards the Church in response to the overturning of Roe, may it not dim the beautiful light that shines forth from, not just the physical sanctuaries across America, but also the living sanctuaries inside our hearts.
That is a light that, I pray, is never snuffed out due to fear or intimidation.
What are you willing to risk?
“Freedom of religion means much more than the right to worship in your chosen church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. It means having the freedom to live out your deeply-held religious beliefs… It is a fundamental human right, and is core to American identity. The threat of violence against people of faith is antithetical to human rights.” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan
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36 responses to “Faith Behind the Barricades”
Poor people of faith always the victims. Not like the religious haven’t attacked and killed in the name of their faith. Catholics vs. Protestants, Christians vs. Muslims and all against the Jews. It’s been one big bloodbath. Words don’t count in the face of the millions who have died and continue to die as religions battle it out for who has the true god.
Ban abortion, ban gay marriage and ban interracial marriage let’s make America a white Christian country as it was intended.
I love your final thoughts on this one, Caralyn. ❤️ I’m wondering what my church is doing or has in mind with this situation. The photo said Babies Win! Amen. Be safe you two!
Thank you for your boldness, Caralyn. I needed this post today. Keep shining God’s truth in love. 💙
I took my family to London the week before Christmas, 2001. That would be a mere 3 months after 9/11. We flew in and out of Gatwick. There were the harsh clicks of pairs of boots as the military patrolled in twos through every terminal with automatic rifles slung across their chests. If you heard those heavy boots pounding toward you, well, any Brit knows to make way. Those boys will shout a warning and then have no compunction about running you over. There were more on the galleries above the retail establishments hidden in the darkness up there.
I loved ‘em. No fear for me. Just a warm, fuzzy feeling that they were there for ME and to “F” up any threat!
That’s what’s happening to you in NYC at church! You’re not entering a bunker surrounded with thugs. You’re going into a house of God inside the blanket of protection provided by your government…Christian or not.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:3-4
What are you willing to risk for a God who provides such protection? See your church as a beacon of faith multiplied by so many of faith that is a beacon to God, prayers brighter than a mere light at Ground Zero.
If any knows about the power of prayer, it’s me!!! Join your prayers to theirs and rest easy!
Hi C. “So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30. I’ll bet He included friends, real friends in there too. Keep looking to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), and He’ll take care of the rest. Praying for you, Friend! 🤗🙏💛
[…] Faith Behind the Barricades […]
Thank you Tonya for the link up! Hugs and love xox
Well, I look at this as God is protecting the church. Pregnancy care centers are under attack by these pro abortionists among the judges are met with nightly protesters and nothing is being done. While it looks like wartime in our country we have to focus our efforts in praying for our country. That we get political leaders spending money on the police force to protect Americans from those that are trying to destroy America.
We also certainly hope people who go to the places that are barricaded have the courage to leave. But it is interesting that the church is the only place where the police is allowed to protect. Sounds like politicans are buying votes.. either way I’m praying for your safety.
You are a beacon of hope in a sea of darkness in Gotham. Why does this feel like a scene from The Dark Knight?
Those same disciples who cowered in fear in the upper room were the ones who went out and proclaimed Jesus with boldness after receiving the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps it would be timely to remember Jesus also stands outside on the other side of the barriers. He’s not a partisan god.
Funny. These people are angry because they demand that abortion be legal. Those same people cry when there is a school shooting. They demand that children be protected while at the exact same time demand that children be killed. Even with the attacks, people still went to church.
Fetuses are not children. Remember that while you’re trying to paint pro-choice voters with the same hypocrisy brush as the people who aligned themselves with gun rights politicians that keep school shooting possible in this country to get a woman’s right to choose taken away. *That’s* hypocrisy, and you are the proud owner of it, not liberals. Enjoy your Scarlet H.
Fetuses are alive and created by God. Saying I am a hypocrite, I mentioned noting about gun rights. You think it is great to kill a fetus? You yourself were once a fetus. Killing is wrong regardless of it is a fetus or school children. Why are school shootings happening? Because when YOU say it is great to kill a child in the womb, you say it is great to kill anyone else.
Sorry, toots…this ain’t about me, so don’t put your toxic words in my mouth.
You seem pretty upset about my comment, maybe you should think about why that is. I’ll just start you off with a little seed to think on: it was too close to accurate for your comfort.
You can do something about that – you. Yourself. Take back the power of individual thought that you’ve given away to…others and think about who you keep company with, even if it’s just at the voting box. What are their actions? Do they match their words or the words of the person you worship? No? That’s a problem. And guess what? You can fix it. You. Yourself. And that’s power. Or you can just keep following along in the flock behind a bunch of deceitful people who don’t care about you outside of the power you give them.
You are exactly who BBB describes in this post. No, I did not give myself to someone’s thought. I like many who follow Beauty Beyond Bones, have seen the destruction with our own eyes.
Am I? Well, I won’t take up anymore of your time. I’m sure you have something performative you should be doing…
After reading your post and a couple of my devotions (from different sources all together) during the day and again at night, I was pointed to Psalm 73. Which is quite pertinent to the days that we live in – It concludes with “But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.” ( New Living Translation)
May this be so 🙏
Sadly, our world values freedom of speech, only if you speak, think, and believe a certain way. What breaks my heart are those who are so lost and push God away, because one day they will regret it, but it will be too late. Thank you for this post. We need to stand firm. God is at work.
Amen! This verse of Scripture came to mind:
“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant unto thy servants, that with all confidence they may speak thy word…”
Who does all your fabulous photography?
Thank you for not shying away from your faith in Jesus Christ, as so many do.
When Anita and I visited Hong Kong in 1996, it was my first encounter with guards with machine guns! The impending changeover to China was prompting extra security at the airport. Later, in 2013 we visited Istanbul and had to go through a metal detector to enter a church meeting and I wondered then, how soon this would happen in America.
We are on the cusp of significant persecution here in the west. Everyone paying attention and prophets are saying this is coming.
“What are we willing to risk to follow Jesus!?” This is a question every Christ-follower in the west should be asking themselves, because the “free ride” where we could share our faith without consequences is almost over.
While I have some ideas on why this is coming, the issue of its coming is established. It may not happen in my lifetime (I am 70 now) but it is coming, if not in your generation (there may be mercy yet that will backstop it for a few years), your children and my grandchildren will have to be ready.
And HE is worth it! “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NCB
The Bible tells us repeatedly “Do Not Be Afraid.” I refuse to be intimidated by those with reprobate minds. I pray that every Christian does the same. God bless.
Someone who disagrees with your religious view has a reprobate mind?
Doesn’t the bible also say “Judge not lest ye be judged”? Or was that Dickens and not Jesus?
This is the hypocrisy I left when I left the church.
The correct translation reads, “do not judge, for it is with the same measure you are judged.”
It’s a warning that we’re all being judged by Christ on the appointed day. We’re all sinners. The only difference is where you put your faith: with God or with men?
I have followed your blog for a few years now. Your words and example have helped me through some very tough times. But yesterday you wrote,
“What has become of our world where, in order to go worship, you have to face the threat of imminent personal danger? ”
Sadly, things will only get worse. I understand the fear, but I remind myself that St. Paul was routinely stoned as he evangelized. St. Peter was beheaded for his faith. Jesus was crucified. Fortunately, we don’t face those perils yet.
The Bible assures us that we will, even here in the United States. It also assures us we’ll be given the Lord’s strength when the time comes. So don’t fear. Worship as you always have, and stay strong in your faith.
Ahh yes, your post reminds me of my favorite Bible verses: I Corinthians 11:3–15 Man is head of woman; only man in God’s image
14:34–35 Women keep in silence, learn only from husbands
I’d like to ask you a question:
Why do we remain attached to our denominations of choice, when we discover the corruptness of the denomination? If I would of remained attending the Jehovah Witness congregations after discovering their practices of deciet, false teachings, then would would that say about myself and my search for Truth, or Christ?
For me, had I stayed ….that would of meant I loved falsehood, my way if life more, what I wanted to believe was true with all my heart and did believe in with all my heart, but it’s not about what we want now is it? How could I of remained attending on good faith? That would of made me culpable and also I’d have to live a charade.
You write what are we willing to risk? How about this- what are you willing to risk for Christ? The WORD says we must be working to risk everything , and risk our lives…and now this question has arrived at your front door.
I’ve been wanting to express this to you for some time…never did. Never knew how. But this isn’t about me, nor you, it’s about our search for Truth. This is how you know and distinguish people that are truly dedicated to Christ: what is more important being whatever denomination you are or being a believe in Christ? If they are unable to see themselves as anything but Jehovah witness, Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, etc…then they have missed the entire message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not remain with a system, that is corrupt and allow your love for it to blind you and lead you into false hope. You will always be a believer in God, no matter where you walk, go, stand, or be.
The ones that remain tied to their denomination regardless of what their denominations do, how they are run, even if there is evidence they are tied to occult , and satanic practices….simply are in denial, they would rather NOT RISK losing their way of life, all they know, for leaving this would uproot everything. How many relationships in your current life, how many brothers and sisters since you grew up with knowing would you no longer talk to or know…A lot of folks aren’t willing to say goodbye to that. To those relationships….but you know God word and what is says…we must be willing to give up everything, in order to pick up our cross and follow Christ. This is YOUR CROSS TO PICK UP, NOW.
I don’t care if you delete this, or if you don’t publish it. What I do care about is that it sinks into the marrow of your bones and does the Will Of God in your life in Jesus name , Amen.
Forgive me, if I offended you in any way. But I care more about helping others and leading them to Christ. I believe you already know Christ…yet you remain inside an organization that you believe in. Faith in Christ isn’t in a denmination period. No matter what church i go to…i go as a representative and child of God.
But also God pulls us up and out of false places. I’m very thankful he did that for me and pulled me out of the Jehovah witnesses. You won’t like this but , they have a lot in common with the way catcholisim is run and set up. This is NO GOOD. Period. God told me one day as I went to visit a church and it was five minutes before Sunday service started, as I say there excited and couldn’t wait for service to begin to worship…He said: ‘Get your things together and DO NOT WORSHIP WITH THEM!’
And that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t know why He said it. But I didn’t have to know why at that moment. All I had to do was listen and follow. And I knew it was serious. I gathered my things together and immediately left. Shows the seriousness of God and how he doesn’t want us integrated with places like this. He then proceeded to show me all the things they were doing at that so called church. Utterly disgusting. Reproachable. They can’t even call themslevs a church yet they do.
Be blessed BBB, you’ve gone too far, learned too much , to remain where you no longer belong. We evolve. And we are held to requirements. God bless.
I get what you are saying about hiding versus going… but the disciples were told by Jesus to wait until they received the promised power, which was the Holy Spirit who gave them the mind of Christ and the ability to do what they couldn’t on their own… as soon as the Spirit came, they were out there preaching and the conversions were HUGE–more than what they could ever have accomplished without Him.
We don’t have an excuse. If we are truly saved, we already have the Spirit. Question is, are we listening? We should be aware that sacrifices may be ours to make, and it is worth it for the sake of Christ who said that if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. We can also ask the Father what He would have us to do, and shouldn’t be surprised when He gives us intimate direction. He doesn’t ask most of us to stand on a street corner to preach, but He does ask us to be real about Him with the people we care about. If we don’t share, we aren’t loving them. If we are ashamed of Him, we aren’t loving Him. And if they reject us, they are really rejecting Him… it doesn’t feel good, but neither does pretending to be something we believe we are not.
I enjoy your posts. They are thought provoking, and your honesty will continue to coach others into examining their own hearts. Keep it up!
Im afraid that you’ve missed the irony of experiencing what women seeking healthcare have experienced at the hands of pro-lifers for decades to go spend time in the company of people who supported or conducted the very behaviors that gave you pause outside your church.
I am curious, why are you afraid that people you know in your everyday life will disapprove of your beliefs? What do you think that these people are going to do to you? Are you afraid that they will reject you and cut you off from them and tell others not to associate with you? Are you afraid of physical retaliation? Are you afraid that you will not be able to hold your own in a conversation with them? I know that that would be my concern because of my own insecurities and lack of self confidence when it comes to discussing controversial things. But, you are well educated and well versed in your thoughts and beliefs and you write so well and beautifully that I feel that you would be able to discuss your points with people and be able to retain their respect even if they disagree with you.
I am in my late 70’s and have watched this country change from being a nation where God was firmly planted in our schools and courts with the Ten Commandments being highly honored, to the decadence of where we are today. When I first learned about RoeVWade and abortion I was not firmly against it, I just accepted it even though oddly enough I have been a Christian almost all of my life. I remember getting antiabortion publications in the mail (long before email and social media) showing tiny bloody baby parts displayed across a silver quarter coin and even that did not affect me. It was not until I started learning about Lila Rose and her her organization Live Action that I saw videos of what actually occurs during an abortion and how well developed babies in the womb truly are that I awakened to the reality of abortion. Then, I could not believe that I could have been so complacent about this issue! Ever since then I have been firmly against abortion and have been doing all that I can on social media to try to share that information with others, although I have not had the courage to speak face to face with others about it, other than close friends (due to my lack of confidence and inability to speak well).
I too, have always wondered what I would do when it came right down to it.
I remember one time as a flight attendant, I had an emergency situation and the plane dropped dramatically with oxygen masks falling simultaneously. We had been trained, yet I always wondered if I could deliver when the time came. I surprised myself as I did what I was supposed to and took charge of my passengers. My teammate on the other hand screamed in fear and panicked. I immediately took her by the shoulders and gently but firmly told her to sit down and be quiet. None of us truly knows until it’s time.
I think it’s then God gives us the strength to do what needs to be done. I’m not the strongest Christian or at least I don’t think of myself as such, but I do know what I’ll have to do when the time comes.
Many years ago I had a dream of my spiritual path and I recall watching myself stall and get up several times, until I actually saw the gates, My dream does not show me going in as I know my walk is not done. My theory is not knowing is in my best interest as it prevents me from becoming arrogant of my own salvation as I sometimes hear people boast.
I don’t know about you, but although Christ gives us the assurance of salvation through him, to constantly sin and take it for granted impales him over and over again and I certainly don’t want to do that. That was brought to home for me once when I was doing a rehearsal for our Easter program. The first time we saw and heard the nails pounded into the wood, we all broke down and cried thinking how it must’ve been. We were all in agony. yet after awhile, we hardly noticed. Just think about what the means.
I feel that regardless, all is not lost. We may be Peter and deny Him 3X and suffer unbearably, but then becoming stronger afterwards.
We grow strong through failing. I loved this post. Lots of food for thought.
Oh my gosh, Jo, that situation on the plane sounds absolutely terrifying. I don’t know how I would handle that situation. it sounds like you were a real champ that day. and you’re right – God will use all kinds of situations to strengthen us. Because you hit the nail on the head: “we grow strong through failing.” amen. thanks for this thoughtful response, Jo. Hugs and love xox
Hi Caralyn, Please forgive me for putting so many negatives before you when I wrote my post. I truly do admire you and never want to do anything to upset you. I was just so surprised that you were not feeling secure about the possibility of anyone in your “everyday life” coming across your article from Monday and that they would disapprove of your beliefs, when you have been so comfortable about sharing your thoughts and convictions on this blog. It was difficult for me to understand. I know my own insecurities, which are many, but, I think of you as very courageous and strong. Again, I apologize. My very best to you in all things.
Great post. That church looks so pretty. 🙂
thank you Harris! i do love St. Patrick’s – it’s beautiful! Hugs and love xox