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Weekly worship: Sunday 1 April

Dimma in Marsabit County Kenya

Good News for all people

Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18, Mark 16:1-8

This week, we're reflecting on:

  • The harmful impact of anti-immigration rhetoric on displaced people
  • Why the Good News is not just for the elites
  • How women were the first to see Christ's Resurrection

 

Anti-immigration rhetoric is harmful

Peter declared that:

I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

This may ring somewhat hollow this Easter for the many displaced people searching for a life away from their homeland's poverty.

Politicians of all parties score cheap electoral points by ‘talking tough’ on immigration. Ignoring boring (and inconvenient) facts on immigration, we're urged to ‘take back control.’

Elsewhere, a policy of America First, backed with vehement anti-immigrant rhetoric, promises to challenge globalisation by ending trade agreements – which, President Trump asserts, disadvantage the US economy.

 

Good News isn't just for the elites

Peter stands at the home of Cornelius the Centurion.

Cornelius is not just a foreigner; he is a military representative of Rome, the occupying power.

As if that were not enough to characterise him as an 'unclean Gentile', his home is in Caesaria, the town named for the Emperor Caesar Augustus by its founder, Herod the Great.

This is a man deeply connected to the political power which competed with the religious power of Judea.

However, fresh from his vision of the clean and unclean food, Peter is newly convicted that the gospel of resurrection - which he is called to preach - is Good News for all, not simply for a privileged elite.

 

The Resurrection appeared to women first

In both Mark and John’s account of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene is one of the first to discover the empty tomb.

While John has Simon, Peter and the other disciple confirming the empty tomb, both Mark and John agree that the first resurrection appearance is not to one of the eleven remaining apostles, but rather to Mary and the other women.

 

God shows no partiality

Christian Aid's work is not party political, but is unashamedly political. It questions and undermines the notion that God’s blessing might be reserved for a particular nation (or nations), or a powerful elite within any nation.

On this Easter Sunday, we join with Peter in proclaiming Christ’s Good News for all people.

Pointers for prayer

Pray for:

  • Sori in Kenya, and that the Christian Aid Easter Appeal will help transform the lives of those displaced due to drought in her community
  • hope in the places that need resurrection from conflict, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and South Sudan

Give thanks for the hope of resurrection; pray that it will inspire and re-energise all who are weary as they work for life before death.

We are grateful to Tim Presswood, member of Christian Aid’s worship and theology collective, Baptist regional minister for the North West of England, and one of the duo behind dancingscarecrow.org.uk.