Faith Matters

Andrew Watson: Finding the real Good News among the fake news

Easter was a reminder that real hope can be found among the fake news, says the Rev Andrew Watson

The Rev Andrew Watson, pictured left, Presbyterian minister at the Carrigart and Dunfanaghy congregations in Donegal, with the Church's moderator, the Rev Dr Frank Sellar

EASTER Day saw our little churches in Dunfanaghy and Carrigart in Co Donegal filled to overflowing with worshippers of all ages.

We enjoyed the hearty singing of classic hymns such as Thine be the Glory, Risen, Conquering Son, supplemented with the majestic In Christ Alone and the contemporary Jesus is the Name we Honour.

We were greatly honoured with the presence of this year's Presbyterian Moderator, the Rev Dr Frank Sellar.

Of all the places they could have chosen to be that Sunday we were thrilled he and his wife Claire agreed to celebrate Easter with us here in the most north-westerly Presbyterian parish in Ireland.

Dr Sellar read from 1 Corinthians 15 and preached a wonderful message of encouragement and challenge.

It focused on the hope Christians have through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, just as had been predicted in the Old Testament scriptures.

It was a timely message in the wake of the harrowing attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt the previous weekend.

Someone has estimated a figure of 90,000 Christians worldwide martyred for their faith during the last year.

There seems widespread uncertainty and unease generally around the world. With the rise of apparently random, senseless murder and the mounting body count of innocent civilians including children, hope feels in short supply.

Yet while the West appears to have lost its soul along with its morals, the Church of Jesus Christ continues to grow at a phenomenal rate in countries like China, Nepal and, to many people's surprise, Iran and Afghanistan.

In some of the most challenging circumstances, humanly speaking, individuals and families are discovering unique comfort in the redeeming love of God.

There is a lot of talk these days about 'fake news'. People wonder now about the selection, authenticity and balance of what we are being told.

How refreshing to hear this 'good news' from around the world, and to be reminded of the timeless 'Good News' of the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died so our sins can be forgiven and was raised that we might share His life eternally.

Let us humbly trust and pray with thanksgiving for His grace to renew and transform our families and communities everywhere - may his kingdom come.

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