Acts 8:1-8 Reflection:
After the death of Stephen, the Church underwent a bitter persecution in which Saul played a big part. We are told that Saul worked for the total destruction of the Church, going from door to door seeking out those who believed in ‘the name.’
Yet on the other hand, we are told that Philip went to a town in Samaria and preached the good news. He received many converts. So here we have this dichotomy, a seeming contradiction: the Church is being severely persecuted and yet is continuing to grow.
It is the same today. All over the world the Christian faith is ridiculed, ignored and while it is not physically persecuted in the West, a Christian is no longer allowed to hold Christian principles in public in many places.
But something wonderful is being celebrated at the moment: the resurrection of Jesus and the fact that his resurrection is the sure guarantee that we will live forever with him. This is the good news that Philip preached to the people of Samaria, Jesus is risen, death no longer has any power over us and the love of God for us is so strong that not even death can separate us from him.
The message of our faith is so different from that of the world. When the world has a problem with life they just kill it, be that the people of Iraq or Libya. This week we are seeing so much dilly dallying over the boat people of the Middle East, those trying to escape conflict and Europe letting them drown in the sea.
Watch over the next few weeks how governments promise much and then back track: the poor trying to get to Europe are not that important.
Yet in the eyes of God all people are equal, he has no favourites. That is a wonderful teaching in itself, that all people are of equal value in the eyes of God.
It’s a pity that we think of the white western person as that bit more valuable!