Wednesday 13 May 2015

Bible Book:

] has not left himself without a witness in doing good – giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy” (v. 17)

Acts 14:8-20 Wednesday 13 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm8


The key message in today's passage is of God creating andsharing what is good for the benefit of human beings. This isillustrated at the outset with the introduction of the man,disabled all his life, who has never walked. Whatever the reasonfor his disability, it was not intended that this should last forthe whole of his life. After Paul tells him merely to stand up hedoes more, springing up and walking. Sadly this is not how thingsusually turn out for those with limited mobility and otherconditions, though care for the disabled, in the Christian hospitaltradition, traces its roots to the healing ministry of Jesus andthe Apostles.

In a superstitious environment Paul then finds himself in aninteresting situation where he is hailed as a god (verses 11-13).This disturbing experience, which caused Barnabas and Paul to teartheir clothes and rush out into the crowd (verses 13-14) shouting:"Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you..."(v. 15), gives Paul another opportunity to share his message. Hetailors what he says ("all things to all people", 1Corinthians 9:22), offering what we could call a 'green'mini-sermon, today's chosen text.

It's encouraging to read Paul celebrating the naturalenvironment in a non-Christian setting and talking of joy with theover-excited locals. Perhaps we need reminding that all God'speople - the human race - whether Christians or not, share in thejoy of a beautiful and bountiful world. Talking about the naturalworld, and the blessings which everyone shares, are as much a partof the gospel of God's love as anything else.

Unfortunately the story does not end there and acclaim turns toserious personal danger. The Jews (a difficult expression) arrivefrom Antioch and persuade the crowds to stone Paul, which must havebeen no mean feat as Paul seems to have been very much in tune withlocal people. This tension between the early Christians and theHellenistic Jews (those who adapted to Greek culture) is a featureof Paul's mission (Acts 13:45).

To Ponder

  • How do you express your gratitude for all the blessings ofcreation?
  • Where does the idea of a 'green gospel' fit into yourthinking?
  • What are your connections with Jewish people?
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