So you have had a powerful spiritual experience. What do you do next?
If you are Peter you start to let the power of The Name flow through you.
This week’s reading (Acts 3:1-10) follows directly behind Luke’s account of the Pentecost experience in Acts 2. The apostles launch right into the task of spreading the Good News and, as a result, growing the community we now call the Christian Church. You can read the passage here.
Click here for Text this Week resources tied to Acts 3:1-7.
It strikes me that this story builds clear continuity between Jesus and Peter. Jesus healed, now Peter heals. Jesus revealed the power of God in him self, Peter allows the power of God to flow in the name of Jesus (about whom he will shortly preach a sermon in verses 11-26). It also is striking that the early church is not just about sermons and study groups. It is out there meeting the people where they are proclaiming the Good News of the Risen Christ in word AND deed.
One of the first things that strikes me about this story (and about the healing stories of Jesus as well) is the looking. Peter looks ‘intently’ at the man asking for alms. Can we only be the church if we look intently, if we really see each other? Can we proclaim wholeness into a world we do not take time to see clearly?
A second thing is the need or willingness to look beyond what is asked for. The man asked for alms. Because that is what life was for him. Peter could not give alms: “I have no silver and gold”. It would have been easy to just say “sorry, can’t help you” and continue on his way. After all isn’t that what often happens? But Peter sees another option “but what I have I give you”. How many times do we fail to notice or value what we have to share just because the request does not match our resources?
And then I read the Working Preacher commentary….
I particularly liked the last 2 paragraphs, where we are invited to consider how we might identify with the apostles and how we might identify with the lame man. And how do those identifications shape our understanding and theology of what it means to be the Church, the Body of Christ alive and active in the world?
One more question puts itself in my mind. Do we have the confidence that offering The Name makes a difference in the world? Do we think that offering the wholeness offered in the life death and resurrection is a gift we have to give?
Although I don’t think this is a profitable avenue as far as sermonizing is concerned…
Do you ever wonder what happens the next day after these healing stories? Most of them involve a person who has adapted well to his/her condition. Then BAM they are healed. How do they re-adapt?
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