Adapted from ACNS
A message from the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) says Christ’s resurrection sends a message of goodness, light, and triumph.
“At this time of year we recall that Christ Jesus too suffered,” the SSCC said in its “Easter message of hope for the people of South Sudan–2017.”
“As a baby he was displaced from his country and had to flee as a refugee to a neighbouring country with Mary and Joseph (Matthew 2:13-15).”
World Council of Churches (WCC) officials will join the SSCC and the All Africa Conference of Churches at a meeting on overcoming hunger and sustaining justice and peace in the Horn of Africa. The meeting is set for May 14-17 in Nairobi with church leaders from East Africa. Nigussu Legesse, the WCC’s program executive for advocacy in Africa, will attend.
Although the situation is most dire in South Sudan and Somalia, other countries in the region are also suffering from food crises because of both man-made and natural calamities.
The WCC invites member churches and partners for a global day of prayer on May 21.
When South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011, after decades of brutal war with Khartoum government forces in Sudan, churches had played a key role in helping broker the process. But civil conflict began in 2013 and has worsened.
“Killing, looting, raping, arbitrary detention, torture, tribalism, terror, fear, anxiety, hate speech and lies, displacement, hunger, poverty, famine, corruption, and economic collapse continue in our young nation, seemingly unabated,” the church leaders wrote. “These things are evil and we cannot pretend that they do not exist.”
An estimated 5.5 million people in South Sudan suffer from food insecurity. At least 7.5 million people, almost two-thirds of the population, need humanitarian assistance.
The SSCC’s message recalls that Jesus lived as “a humble manual worker under an oppressive regime, was falsely accused by corrupt power-seeking leaders, was unjustly arrested and imprisoned, and finally was tortured to death for his opposition to the behavior of those in power. Many South Sudanese have suffered the same fate.”
The letter concludes on a note of hope: “May this Easter bring blessings upon us all, and may it revive our hope that we too will be free from oppression and terror, and that we may ‘come to the water,’ to the good things of life. Just as suffering and death preceded Jesus Christ’s Resurrection to new life, may the evil and death that we are experiencing be the precursor to a new life of peace and justice. This is the night, the blessed night, when we remember that the love of Christ triumphs over earthly powers.”
Image: Christians in procession on Easter Sunday in Pawel, a village in South Sudan's Jonglei State. © Paul Jeffrey/ACT, via ACNS