We all want to belong. When we are kids, we want to belong to the right group of friends. As we grow older, we look for places where “everybody knows your name,” places where we know we will be accepted, places we can call home. As Robert Frost put it, “home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” The desire to belong is a deeply felt need, and when it isn’t met, the consequences can be devastating. Continue reading
It’s been fifty days since Easter. Fifty days of praying. Fifty days of anticipation. Fifty days of wondering what comes next. During these past fifty days, we’ve been reading from the book of Acts instead of the Old Testament each Sunday. In every story, the Holy Spirit has been on the move.
We’ve seen Jewish Christians become aware that Gentiles can be Christians, too. We’ve seen the established religious leaders of the day confounded by healing and preaching that they thought they’d gotten rid of when they crucified Jesus. And we’ve seen thousands upon thousands of lives changed forever by believing that Jesus is the Christ and being baptized in his name.
Last week, we went back to the very beginning of Acts, to set the scene for today’s passage. We heard Jesus say, “You will be my witnesses,” just before he was lifted into a cloud. The disciples who saw this happen headed back to Jerusalem and started praying. Whatever they were praying for, whatever we’ve been waiting for, this is it. We’ve arrived at Pentecost. Continue reading
It’s time to go back to the beginning. Sometimes, we need a little refresher course in why we do what we do, who we are, and what our mission in life truly is. It’s easy to get off track. It’s easy to get lost in the details of day-to-day activities, and forget what our purpose was for doing those things in the first place.
The gospel writers knew this. As the church was forming and reforming in those early years, it was important to stay focused on the gospel, the Good News. It was important to know what to believe, and even more important to remember who to believe. The best way to keep things straight was to write down everything, from the beginning. Continue reading
Our readings from Acts during this season of Eastertide have given us a glimpse of the early church. We have seen a healing miracle provide a way for disciples of Jesus to tell others about their personal experience of Christ’s resurrection. Thousands have come to believe in Jesus. Last week, we saw the Holy Spirit nudge Philip to follow a chariot on its way to Gaza. That encounter changed Philip as much as the man in the chariot. The Holy Spirit is on the move.