Easter 2 texts at www.textweek.com
Acts 5:27-32 Psalm 118:14-29 Rev. 1:4-8 John 20:19-31
… you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching… Acts 5:28b
For those who have witnessed the resurrection, the story demands to be told.
It calls out on the streetcorners. It falls like a healing shadow.
It will not be contained behind locked doors. It will not be silenced by intimidation.
It stands in the center.
It pours into the city with abundance.
In Jerusalem, the disciples were shaping a community of the story; a new kind of community where everyone belonged to one another. They were not called to attain power or to amass prestige, but to tell, to teach. The disciples weren’t trying to sway public opinion, or to play politics and to stack the deck of control in their own favor. They weren’t even trying to force (or enforce) a Christian nation; Christ-followers were not the “powers that be,” but witnesses gathered into community on the Way.
It is difficult–if not nearly impossible–for us to relate to that early body of believers, who did not aspire to secular power, and probably could not even dream of having it! In the short history of our own nation, Christianity (or, at least, Christian affiliation) has been the rule, not the exception, among our most powerful leaders; no president in our history has openly declared himself an atheist or even a non-Christian. Our most admired (or, at least, most famous) churches have congregations numbering in the thousands, and budgets in the millions, and often feel led to use those resources to affect political considerations. In one town where we lived, one of the largest churches in town was proud to host a presidential candidate on the Sunday before the state’s primary election. On the radio I heard a denominational leader talking about his experience speaking at a campaign rally. No wonder it is difficult for us to imagine a time when Christ-followers were the “have nots.” They had not wealth. They had not power. They had not political influence.
But they had a story rich with life. They had the power of God to bring healing to bodies and hearts. And they had the influence that is granted only to those faithful guides who direct us to the true Source, and help us find the Way to God.
As water splashes into a cup, they filled Jerusalem with their teaching—from the bottom up.
First published 3/28/16 on www.bwim.info/blog