Monday, May 7, 2018. We have been looking into the biblical book of Acts, the history of the early Christian church. It is a fascinating book, full of stories and full of faith. Let us read a little further this morning. And let us think about faith, about our expectations and about what is possible.
Wonders and Healing …
Let us read on in the book of Acts. In Chapter 5 we hear:
12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (from Acts 5)
The time of the first church was full of wonders. It was also full of persecution, as we heard already. Peter and other members of the church had been arrested. Conflict was there, conflict about faith, but also about priorities, about society. We should remember that these conflicts were quite violent in those times. Life was threatened, for many people, in particular for the early Christian church.
At the same time we hear about appreciation, about high esteem, about faith, about people joining the church, both men and women. And we hear about healing, about the sick and those afflicted with mental or spiritual problems. It was definitely a quite intense time, the first years and decades in the early church!
Where are we today? …
Where are we today with the our attitudes and our ideas about the early faith? In most churches, our life is a little less intense today. But that can be an illusion, if you consider the church on a global scale. Faith is threatened in many places and countries. Freedom of faith is threatened a lot, and violence towards Christian activists is quite widely spread. But God is there, where ever people of faith move forward, spread the word and love their neighbors.
But the problems are much deeper. Our overall situation is not much different from New Testament times. There is still the spiritual question: where are we? Where is our life? Do we recognize God? Do we live our life with him, or without him? Are we separated from the creator? Or are we healed, reconciled? Have we found him? Did we get into a relationship to the most high? Are we filled with faith? With truth? With love?
We could talk much about what is driving our society. We could talk much about motivation, about fear, about mistrust, which is everywhere! We will go further and talk through what moves mankind … (Roland Potthast) ... further texts