From Christianity Today: Historically, Muslims have been resistant to conversion to Christianity. However, today there are several movements of Muslims leading one another to Christ. An estimated 2 to 7 million people from a Muslim background worldwide now follow Christ. I thank God for the high privilege of living in such a time as this.–JW
Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
What a joyous proclamation of our faith! So much is captured in this opening acclamation of the Easter Season. Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death, and opened the gates of heaven to all who believe in his name. But this is not only a future hope: his sacrifice has made possible true, lasting, and profound reconciliation between man and God, here and now.
This Sunday we are reminded that the Church is God’s instrument for that reconciliation:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room on that first Easter Day. He breathes on the disciples and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22b-23)
What an awesome responsibility, and what an awesome joy, Christ has given to his Church. As a priest of the Church, it has been my greatest honor to pronounce absolution upon men and women who come to the Lord with contrite hearts. That forgiveness is available to us because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.
From Reuters: There is a growing conviction among Western capitals that President Bashar al-Assad has failed to come clean about Syria’s chemical weapons program despite his promises to end it.
You came to Gideon hiding from the Midianites by a winepress, and You gave him a new name—“O Mighty Man of Valor.” We ask You to come now to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and give them a name of courage.
You told Gideon to throw down the altar of Baal and build an altar to You in its place. Reveal to the OPCW the altars in their hearts that You would have them throw down that You may be honored in Syria.
You revealed to Gideon what You would have him do, how You would have him do it, and when You would have him do it. Open the eyes and ears of the OPCW that they may discern Your will. Yield their hearts to obey You.
Just as the barley loaf knocked down the tent of the Midianites, we call out for Jesus, the Bread of Life, to knock down the chemical weapons program in Syria.
You gave Gideon a miraculous victory in the valley of Moreh. Using only trumpets and pitchers, his small band completely routed the Midianites. We pray for the establishment of Your kingdom within Syria. We say, “The sword of the Lord shall slay the enemies of God encamped around His people.”
Gideon pursued the Midianites from the valley of Moreh to Bethshittah to Tabbath to Bethbarah to Succoth to Penuel to Karkor. Empower the OPCW, Lord, to persevere in this protracted, drawn-out battle. Give them the courage to pursue all the chemical weapons that oppress Your children. May they proceed in the confidence You are with them each step of the way. May they build an altar in their hearts and name it Jehovah-shalom, “The Lord is peace.” Amemn.
And all the people in need, in desperate need, in broken need,
whisper it like a breaking dawn in the dark,
He is risen indeed, indeed, indeed.
and the cornerstone of Christianity
is this rotting cell sparking,
a heart valve quivering in the pitch,
a beetle scratching in the black while
convex chest cavity shudders,
sunken death inflating with His hot breath,
atoms of the second Adam recreating
all the impossible things and the universe.
— Ann Voskamp, from her Easter Sunday post at A Holy Experience