Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash.

“By what power or by what name did you do this?”

they said to Peter,

not caring for his message,

hearing in it the threat of imminent change.

Yes, that Peter –

one of Jesus’ twelve closest companions,

the rock on which Christ declared he would build his church.

If people argued with Peter,

is it any wonder we have our own naysayers?

“What gives you the right to do things differently?”

“Who are you to offer an alternate point of view?”

“How do you expect us to respond to that?”

And, at times,

“Why are you even here?”

a question that can echo one in our own minds.

Peter wasn’t perfect, that’s for sure.

But we can take heart from his boldness and enthusiasm.

God, give us a bit of his courage, his fervor, his willingness to take risks

so that we can confidently tell about Jesus,

who died and then was raised again

to prove –

no matter the naysayers’ protests –

that all humans are made in your image

abuses of power must end

we should take responsibility for one another

and love is stronger than any other force.

Come, Holy Spirit, to offer us this strength.


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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