15 After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.” 16 So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak: “You Israelites,[b] and others who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 For about forty years he put up with[c] them in the wilderness. 19 After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20 for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’
I gathered via zoom with three other friends to reflect on Acts 13. We asked God to help us focus on a small section of the chapter. As we collaborated, we honed in on the first part of Paul’s message in the synagogue at Antioch. We followed the practice of Lectio Divina: talking and listening to God and listening to each other. Our goal was to receive God’s help in connecting the words from Acts 13 with our daily life.
Here is my summary from our valuable time together: The people of God have journeyed through years, decades and centuries of disorientation, upheaval and disruption of their established ways of living. We have also journeyed through our own times of disorientation, upheaval and disruption from the trajectory we expected for our lives. God was with the people of God all the time, comforting, delivering, providing and allowing for natural consequences as they pursued life the way they wanted it. God is with us in these ways as well.
As we all experience disorientation, upheaval and disruption of the way we thought life should be and would be, we determined that what matters most is being with God and knowing God is with us taking good care of us even when it doesn’t seem that way.
We asked God if there was anything He was inviting us to and it seemed to us that:
- God is inviting us to be continually open to learning who God is and how God is there for us.
- God is inviting us to understand who God really is and what God is really like: God is not distant. God is close. God sees the big picture. God is not surprised by what is happening in our world today. God doesn’t expect us to “get this right.” God remains tender, compassionate and patient with us.
- God give me a willingness to lay down any expectations that don’t align with your expectations.
- God help me continue to look to you and notice any ways that I am not trusting you.
- God help me to be like David who is after your own heart and will carry out your wishes (vs. 22).
Lisa Dodge Pinkham
Christian Formation Coordinator, Christ Church Parish