ACTS 4: 29-31
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, 30 while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
Peter and John had just been arrested and released after talking themselves out of a worse punishment other thanbeing threatened to not speak of Jesus, or what they had seen and heard while with Him. They come home, tell their friends what happened and together they pray. Verses 29 and 30 are the end of their prayer for courage, strength and guidance. Verse 31 is the answer to that prayer. They were again filled with the Holy Spirit, a Power much greater than themselves and one that quiets their fears.
For me, these verses connected to Father Mark’s sermon on Easter Sunday when he read from Megan Mckenna’s Parable of the Violin Maker. At the end of the parable, the student learns that it is the weathered trees that become “the instruments that make beautiful sounds.” Peter and John were certainly weathered after their ordeal and their beautiful sounds are powered and amplified by the Holy Spirit.
Today, we can be counted as weathered trees. We are scared, lonely and sad and from a virus we don’t understand; but, ACTS teaches us that we have access- access to the Holy Spirit through our belief and knowledge of God and Jesus. We have access to a power much greater than ourselves, if we pray for it, when we invite it.
Our amplified, beautiful sounds can reach each other, even remotely, to lift each other, care for those we know and don’t know, and yes, through our ACTS of love reach those who don’t yet know this Great Love. From our home churches, we are able to amplify our acts of love to grow the Christian family, even if we don’t sit next to these new members on Sunday, we have grown the Love and therefore the healing right from our couches. For myself, I know that when I reach out boldly in love, my own fears and sadness are quelled. May we all join together through the Holy Spirit to access this power of love and healing in the weeks to come.
Tara Lightner, EfM year 1