After Saturday Comes Sunday

Source:  http://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com

Date:  March 22, 2016


by Elizabeth Kendal 

'After Saturday comes Sunday' is the English translation of an Arab Muslim 
threat expressing genocidal intent. It means, 'After we (Muslims - Friday 
people) get rid of the Jews (Saturday people) we'll get rid of the Christians 
(Sunday people),' and the seriousness of this threat is self-evident, with 
Mesopotamia (Iraq & Syria) already 'cleansed' of Jews and the remnant 
Christians now facing genocide. However, the Christian crisis does not end in 
the Middle East. Hindu nationalists would love to eliminate Christianity from 
'Hindu India'. Just as the Burmese military would love to eliminate Burma's 
Christian ethnic nations, so too would the Indonesian military love to see 
the Christian Papuans eradicated from Papua and the Vietnamese government 
would love to drive Christians from the resource-rich Central Highlands. The 
Government of Sudan has commanded its military to 'sweep away the rubbish'- 
eliminate African Christians - from the Nuba Mountains [see RLPB 194 (23 Jan 
2013)]. All totalitarian regimes long to enslave Christianity or be rid of 
it. And in the post-Christian secular humanist West, those pursuing the 
Marxist dream of total sexual liberation are striving to achieve 
Christianity's death. The situation is anything but good. Of course Jesus did 
warn us it would be this way, saying, 'If they persecuted me, they will 
persecute you also ...' (from John 15:8-16:4a). Therefore, rather than being 
surprised or shocked, we should be ready, not only to stand firm in our 
faith, but to help one another.  

To the followers of Jesus, that first Good Friday was anything but 'good'. On 
the contrary, it was absolutely horrendous. Three times Jesus warned his 
followers that he would be arrested, scourged and crucified in Jerusalem. But 
the disciples found the idea that the Messiah should suffer and die so 
incomprehensible they chose to reject it. Therefore, when events unfolded 
just as Jesus had foretold they were shocked and totally unprepared. To make 
matters worse, after Friday came Saturday, and the horror of the cross was 
followed by the silence of the grave. As far as Jesus' followers could see, 
not only was their Messiah dead and buried, so too were all their hopes and 
dreams. Injustice and evil had triumphed. Their journey with Jesus was over. 
Except that it was not! For after Saturday came Sunday and what happened on 
Sunday changed everything.  

The resurrection left death dead, silence mute and shame ashamed. It dried up 
tears, melted fears and ignited joyous proclamation. Christ had achieved 
victory over our enemies (sin and death), not through proxies or from a safe 
and comfortable distance, but by inserting himself into our crisis (our 
captivity to sin and death) and destroying it from within, thereby setting us 
free. Horror and divine silence are not grounds to lose faith or to retreat 
from the world or disengage with the persecuted. God is at work destroying 
his enemies (1 Corinthians 15:20-26), fulfilling his promises (Deuteronomy  
7:9) and building his Church (Matthew 16:18). This is no time to retreat; 
this is the day to engage so we might be fortified through solidarity with 
the Body; so the lost might be reached through amazing grace; so  the 
persecuted might be sustained through sacrificial love. These are all forms 
of witness that point to Christ, the hope of the world. Today is the day of 
opportunity.  

It is tragic that many Christians and far too many churches remain disengaged 
from the world, deeming it a dangerous place and a hopeless cause. It is 
shameful that many Christians and far too many churches remain disengaged 
from the suffering church, burdened by its tears, ashamed of its suffering 
and confused and repelled by the politics of persecution. When the world 
looks at a crisis it sees death and hears silence. But by faith we know that 
the Redeemer is there, alive and active. By faith we hear him calling us: 
'Deny [yourself], take up [your] cross and follow me' (Matthew 16:24). By 
faith we say 'Yes Lord' and step out in mission, to scatter the seed where he 
is preparing the soil. By faith we respond with the provision of aid, with 
advocacy (speaking up), and through intercessory prayer, fuelled by our 
confidence that Sunday is coming.  


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL

* convict the Church of its sin in pandering to self-interest, preferring 
recreation and entertainment to the serious business of mission and ministry 
when the need is so great. 'And those who belong to Christ Jesus have 
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.' (Galatians 5:24 ESV)  

* awaken the Church to the significance of the Easter paradigm, so that 
regardless of circumstances - persecution, injustice, the horrors of war or 
even divine silence - our hope will endure, our faith will be firm, and our 
mission and ministry will advance undaunted. 'But the angel said to the 
women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was 
crucified. He is not here [in the grave], for he has risen." ' (Matthew 28:5 
ESV)  

* energise the Church by the Holy Spirit to prepare for hardship, suffering 
and persecution so that, regardless of circumstances, we will witness to 
Christ through our endurance (remaining firm in faith), through our 
willingness to risk much to rescue the perishing and through our sacrificial 
love and care for the persecuted. 'But you will receive power when the Holy 
Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.' (The risen Jesus to 
his disciples, Acts 1:8 ESV)  

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