An Open Doors small group reflection
Bible: Isaiah 61:1–4
We all need good news – especially at the moment with all that is happening around the world. But when we think about good news how do we picture it?
In Isaiah 61:1–4 the good news which the prophet proclaims to the poor looks like lots of different things. It looks like release from captivity and comfort for those who mourn. It looks like people wearing garlands of flowers rather than the ashes of mourning: “…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)
Most of all, the good news looks like freedom from captivity and the rebuilding of their homes.
The reason for that is that Isaiah is speaking to people who have suffered loss and destruction. The city of Jerusalem lies in ruins, and the inhabitants of Judah have been taken into captivity in Babylon.
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For Pastor Andrew and his traumatised congregation, good news looked like some burnt zinc roofing materials perched precariously on some poles.
“We lost everything,” Pastor Andrew says. “The persecution was so much that I never imagined we would come together again to worship in the church.”
Pastor Andrew and other church leaders chose to stay to serve the community and rebuild the church. “I called the attention of some of the church members, and we brought all our burnt zinc together and some sticks to make a worship place,” he says.
These sheets of burnt zinc and rickety poles became a sign that the church could not be destroyed.
Boko Haram thought they were wiping out Christianity in Guyaku. But God had other plans. The exact opposite has happened: the church is growing and they’ve had to build a bigger place to worship.
“Because of you,” says, Pastor Andrew, “my church is living hopeful, thinking of the kingdom of heaven."
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