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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
March 22, 2008

     So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John 20:19-21 (NASB*)

. . . There is considerable encouragement to be gained from the fact that the living Christ is greeting his living Church. . . .

Today we too, we live in fear and perplexity. We too need to see the Risen Lord, in order to take away perplexity and fear because of all that is happening around us and in us, so to replace our fear and anxiety with peace and joy.

However the message of Easter does not end there. The new joy is a mission which the apostles have to bring to the world. Jesus sent them to the troubled world as a whole in order to bring to every one its joy and peace. So Jesus says: “As my Father has sent me, even so send I you.” In this way Jesus reveals that his Church is to be the instrument through which his saving power is to be made known to the world as the lives of men and women are challenged to submit to the claims of his Kingdom. . . .

We have to tell the people that the present situation in which we are living is part of the world's sin, but it must also be part of the new power given to us by the Risen Lord. Hence we invite them to make penitence, to admit their involvement in the sin of the world, to be forgiven and to become able to see the right ways that lead to security and peace. We say this to our Leaders in Palestine and Israel. The ways used until today to reach security must be changed. If not, we will remain in the same positions in a permanent cycle of violence. For you, Leaders of this Land, we ask that God give you light and strength to take away from it death and fear so as to restore in it peace with security. . . .

Pray for us as well as for a just and comprehensive peace in this Land; pray that fear, the main obstacle for peace, will disappear. Pray that people recognize and accept each other, so that the right ways be open before the glory of the Resurrection so that this Land of the resurrection may enjoy the new life to which God has called it.

Christ is risen!

-Excerpted from the Easter 2008 Message of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

* New American Standard Bible ©1960-1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 19-Apr-2008 18:01:42 EDT