Second Sunday of Easter (April 7, 2013)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Acts 5:27-32; Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4-8; John 20:19-31
This week we hosted two visitors from the Bruderhof — a Christian community that seeks to recapture the model of the first century church. Edith and Kim Ann are volunteers at House of Hope in Bethlehem and are taking a short break in Jordan. While here, they have been assisting Cindy in teaching ESL classes with Iraqis who are awaiting resettlement to the United States.
A prominent member of the Bruderhof community, Josef Ben-Eliezer, who during his life acted and spoke boldly for justice and peace in the Middle East, died March 23.
We also enjoyed visits this week with Michael Greer and Eric Oltman, two friends that we first learned to know during our years at Washington Community Fellowship.
On Friday, Kristy Guertin, SALT volunteer at MCC Global Family partner Arab Episcopal School (AES), ran the Dead Sea Marathon, along with her friend and work colleague Lena Gomer. Both completed the 42 km (26.2 mi.) course with great times, finishing in the top 20 in the women’s division. Franziska Kadur, a third volunteer at AES, led the marathon cheering squad, which included Carolyn and Gordon Epp-Fransen, along with Daryl.
In the region this week:
- The U.N. announced that it is running out of funds to support Syrian refugees, who now number well over one million across the region.
- Syrian rebels claim to have taken control of a Syrian army post that guards the main border crossing between Syria and Jordan.
- There are now more than 470,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and humanitarian organizations are predicting that the number in Jordan alone could swell to more than 1.0 million by year end. UNHCR has registered most of the refugees. The high cost of energy – exacerbated by the influx of refugees — is pressing Jordan to look at renewable energy sources.
- Talks between Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany resumed, Apr. 5, in Kazakhstan. So far there has been little progress toward agreement over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
The Common Lectionary Readings are about being witnesses.
In the reading from Acts, in spite of being warned by the religious authorities not to teach about Jesus, his disciples speak openly about witnessing his death, resurrection and exultation. “We must obey God rather than any human authority,” they reply when dragged before the angry religious leaders (Acts 5:29).
The psalmist gives witness to God’s mighty deeds and surpassing greatness (Ps. 150:2).
John, the writer of Revelation, describes Jesus as “the faithful witness” (Rev. 1:5) – the one who showed the world how God desires humanity to live in right relationship with God and one another.
The same John says that he has written a Gospel account to give witness to the signs that Jesus did in the presence of the disciples, as well as his resurrection from the dead, “so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.” (John 20:31)
In a world torn by suffering and violence, may our lives, too, bear faithful witness to God’s mighty acts and to God’s plan for a just and peaceful world.