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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
April 2, 2005

     Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this. God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.
Acts 2:22-24 (CEV*)

In a week when the news has focused on two deaths, that of Terri Schiavo and of Pope John Paul II, it seems appropriate that in the lectionary readings for this Sunday is Peter's bold statement about death not being able to hold Jesus Christ in its power. This indeed is foundational to the Christian faith.

John Paul II frequently spoke and wrote about a culture of life. He held that human life was precious, and should be protected regardless of condition or stage of life. He spoke out against rushing to war to deal with political issues. He frequently spoke out against the use of the death penalty. He identified his church with the poor and oppressed, arguing for creating the conditions in which they could live in dignity. While outspoken on many issues, he spoke out with such grace and with such a lack of bitterness that he remained highly respected by people whose policies he forcefully condemned. All this he did in an effort to serve Jesus Christ, the one he understood had conquered the power of death.

As we reflect on the scripture passage and on the deaths that have dominated the news in recent days, let us consider whether we have really placed our faith in Christ, and live in the reality that death could not hold Him in its power. In the knowledge of Christ's victory, are we fearless in speaking out for life and doing the deeds of mercy?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2005 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 16-Apr-2005 18:54:49 EDT