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Something to read

Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.” When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.

- Acts 5:17-21.

Something to think about

There's a church in the city of Oxford in the UK where you can see a wooden door suspended from a wall inside the bell tower. The door doesn't lead anywhere now. It's been preserved because it was once the door to a prison cell - the cell in which Thomas Cranmer was held. Cranmer was an important figure in the reformation of the church in England in the sixteenth century. When I visited Oxford and saw that door years ago, I remember spending a long time studying it - each groove, each knot. I imagined that everyone who had been imprisoned behind that door, Cranmer included, must have done something similar. A simple wooden door was now the boundary of the world for those prisoners.

What must it have been like for the apostles when their prison door was miraculously flung open? What's really remarkable about this story is that after their escape, they do exactly as the 'angel of the Lord' says and go back to teaching in public. They know they will very likely be caught again and that is indeed what happens.

We need to join in God's work of opening doors wherever people are trapped. Those prison doors can take many forms. They include barriers to economic inclusion that try to keep people trapped in poverty; barriers to joining in politically and socially, so that people are excluded from power in their community; barriers to change that trap people in unjust circumstances.

We also need to have the courage of the apostles, to step out and take risks for God's kingdom.

Which doors can you help open? Which doors will you courageously step through?

Something to do

When you engage with the news and current events, identify people who are speaking out in ways that are helpful and fruitful. Where are the voices that give you fresh ideas and new tools with which you can do good? How can you amplify those voices?

Something to pray

Jesus we pray that you would

Open the doors

Set free the prisoners

Give us courage to serve you

That we may see your kingdom come.


Today’s contributor is Dr Frances Clemson, Faith Communications and Just Scripture Specialist at Christian Aid.