The evil and tragic Easter morning bombings in Sri Lanka should remind the Church that there are brothers and sisters risking their lives across the world to simply gather together and sit in a service.
William Stark of International Christian Concern, a persecution watchdog, says a church is supposed to be welcoming to the people outside its walls. But many times, he says, armed guards and barbed wire are necessary protections around the world.
So where is the balance, he asks, between hospitality and security?
“I don't have the answer to that,” he concludes. “It's a truly difficult question to answer, and it's something that's unfortunately a reality for Christians who live in persecuted countries."
In a well-coordinated attack, Islamic terrorists struck Catholic churches and luxury hotels Easter morning, claiming 321 lives and wounding hundreds more.
A total of 110 people were killed in just one church, St. Sebastian, The Associated Press reported.
ICC documents persecution of Christians worldwide and Stark says there is at least one major incident, year after year, at a church during a special holiday.
"I've spent a lot of time with churches in Pakistan where it's kind of you sit in these meetings where you're like, Okay, how do we keep our parishioners safe? But how do we not scare them? But then also how do we make the church continue to look like a place of welcome?"
So while Christmas and Easter are times of joy for churches around the world, he says, security is a topic during those Christian holidays.