Friday 08 May 2020

Bible Book:

Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (v. 17)

Acts 8:14-17 Friday 8 May 2020

Psalm: Psalm 42


I grew up within the Methodist Church, about as deeply embedded as you can be. Four Methodist grandparents, which included local preacher, choir members, treasurers, stewards, Property Secretaries and probably many other roles I don’t know about. My parents met through the youth work of the Church and both had many roles in the various Methodist churches where we lived. I was baptized as an infant, received membership as teen. I met my wife, whose parents were both Church Stewards, through Methsoc, and we were married in a Methodist Church.

In the people of Samaria who had accepted the Word of God, who had been baptized in the name of the Lord, I see something of my story. It isn’t an exact parallel. Throughout my journey the Holy Spirit wasn’t ignored and when younger I mostly wasn’t aware of distinctions, but throughout the journey and continuing today I see a couple of related divisions.

There is the division over what it means to receive the Holy Spirit and how that is recognised. Did a lack of teaching, recognition and celebration of the gifts of the Spirit mean she was absent? By no means, the fruits of the Spirit were clearly visible in so many of the people in my journey, and in some the more charismatic gifts. But nevertheless there continue to be divisions between Christians, over what it means to receive the Holy Spirit, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to receive gifts from the Holy Spirit.

Then there is division over the laying on of hands. How significant was it that Peter and John were the ones who laid hands on them? The issue of whose hands do what to whom is still very much an area of division when it comes to ecumenical relationships and ordination.

Does God love me more because of my family history? Is God more generous because of my journey? Does God value my tradition over others? It seems absurd when expressed that way. Many in our society beyond the Church reject our faith over our disagreements on issues like these, where they see us demonstrating our belief in God’s partiality towards us, our traditions, and our journey over others.


To Ponder:

  • At the time of the greatest crises of our lives (both COVID-19 and Climate Justice) can or should we move past these divisions? If yes, then what can we be doing during the lockdown to prepare for God doing something new and different?
  • What might Church look like in a very different world after the Pandemic?
  • Can the Church be relevant to a different society with these old divisions? How?
Previous Page Thursday 07 May 2020
Next Page Saturday 09 May 2020