Acts 9:36-43 Rev­e­la­tion 7:9-17 John 10:22-30

The Church of England - - SUNDAY -

The Acts of the Apos­tles de­scribes how the mis­sion of the Chur ch in Jer us­alem, an­nounc­ing the Res­urr ec­tion of Je­sus and ac­com­pa­nied by mir­a­cles of heal­ing, was first ex­tended by Peter and oth­ers among its lead­er­ship to neigh­bour­ing towns and countr yside. The good news was brought at first to the Jewish and Greek be­liev­ers who wor­shipped in the syn­a­gogues and spread rapidly as re­por ts be­gan to cir­cu­late through­out the pop­u­la­tion of large towns such as Joppa, where Tabitha or Dor­cas was well known, and ev­ery­one could see for them­selves that she was now very much alive, thanks to the min­istr y of Peter and the gospel of the risen Lord which he pro­claimed among them. It is the clear­est pos­si­ble sign of the author­ity given to the Church to pro­claim the good news through­out Is­rael and to all the na­tions, and of the au­then­tic­ity of the mes­sage car­ried by the apos­tles. The names of Tabitha and Simon the Tan­ner are recorded so that ev­ery­one who knew them could hear what had hap­pened from liv­ing wit­nesses to this mirac­u­lous event.

On the day of the Res­urr ec­tion the com­pany of those who be­lieved in the risen Lor d was tiny, but within a very short space of time, em­pow­ered by faith in Christ and by the gift of the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ brought sal­va­tion to many who came to be­lieve in him through God’s free gift of grace, glo­ri­fy­ing not only Is­rael but those whom God has called to him­self from all the na­tions of the earth. In John’s great vi­sion of the day of the Lord’s coming, the first to be marked with the seal of sal­va­tion are those who be­long to the twelve tribes of Isra el, called by God fr om of old. But the gath­er­ing of souls in the pr es­ence of God is ex­tended far and wide to the ends of the ear th and through­out the ages, em­brac­ing alike both Is­rael and all who have been saved f rom ever y na­tion on earth, all bear­ing palm branches and r obed in white as mar­tyrs who have been pu­ri­fied by the blood of the Lamb of God. Ther e are no longer any hu­man bound­aries or dis­tinc­tions be­tween them, as all ar e gath­ered to­gether in the tem­ple where they wor­ship God day and night un­der his eter­nal pro­tec­tion. What­ever suf fer­ing they have en­dured in this life they ar e now as­sured for­ever of the love of the Lamb who is also the good shep­herd, who comes to meet each one and wipes away the tears from their eyes.

Je­sus gave many signs of his iden­tity in the course of his teach­ing and in the mirac­u­lous events that ac­com­pa­nied his min­istr y, above all in the Resur r ec­tion it­self. Th­ese signs bear wit­ness that he is the Mes­siah, but they r emain signs and not con­clu­sive proofs of the kind that con­tinue to be de­manded by those who choose not to be­lieve in him. Many were fed at the mir­a­cle of the loaves and fishes, but for most it meant no more than a meal at which they sat­is­fied their hunger. Even those who held high of­fice in the tem­ple came de­mand­ing an­swers, want­ing Je­sus to con­vince them, to com­pel them, although he had alr eady pro­vided am­ple ev­i­dence that his min­istr y came from the Fa­ther, ev­i­dence that they chose not to be­lieve. Je­sus does not teach a set of propo­si­tions to which we must give our as­sent, or pr ovide irr efutable “sci­en­tific” proofs that he is the Son of God. In­stead he in­vites us to hear the wor d of God in his teach­ing and in the signs that he gives, so that we may be­lieve that he is the One whom God has sent. It is by faith that God calls us and saves us and gath­ers us into his sheep­fold, guid­ing us ac­cord­ing to the 2011 Cento springs of the water of life. sus. The Rev Stephen Tr ott here aree they from? In the last 10 years, 700,000 peo­ple have em­i­grated from In­dia, al­most 600,000 from Poland (though over half of th­ese have now re­turned), 500,000 have come from Pak­istan and 400,000 from Ire­land.

One of the fac­tors that Government ac­tu­ar­ies have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion as they as­sess the fu­ture

H ymns for Easter 4 Take my life and let it be Breath on me, breath of God Let all mor­tal flesh keep si­lence Shall we gather at the river Blessed as­sur­ance

Only by grace I am the bread of life Now is eter­nal life Je­sus, stand among us Lov­ing shep­herd of thy sheep their re­li­gion. When this was last done, the re­sults showed that a third (31 per cent) were Chris­tian ad­her­ents and a quar ter (24 per cent) were Mus­lim. As the num­bers are so great, how­ever, for the mi­nor­ity re­li­gions th­ese num­bers be­gin to make a real dif­fer­ence.

Be­tween 2001 and 2011 the Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion in­creased in Eng­land by 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple. At least half of this was due to im­mi­gra-

Num­ber of Im­mi­grants to and Em­i­grants from

Bri­tain, 1991 to 2011

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