Text: Acts 4:13-31
For voice to praise God in every circumstance
For the joy to be together as God’s People
For those who feel they have no hope
IN TALKING ABOUT THE CHURCH and Christians, Karl Barth made the following observation:
… as the [worshipper sits], the congregation sings ancient songs full of weighty and weird memories, struggles, and triumphs of those long departed, all leading to the edge of an immeasurable event, all whether the pastor and people understand what they are singing or not, full of reminiscences of God, always of God. “God is present!” GOD IS PRESENT. The whole situation witnesses, cries, simply shouts it, even when in pastor or people there arise questioning, wretchedness or despair. Then perhaps God’s presence is witnessed to best of all—better than when the real problem is obscured or concealed by abundant human success.
The passage today from Acts illustrates Barth’s point beautifully. What power do Peter or John have? The weight of authority is against them. Sheer numbers are against them. Power, influence, celebrity—all of these are against them. The members of the Sanhedrin cannot wrap their heads around it: these uneducated, common men—who do they think they are? Yet in the end they do nothing, because there is nothing they can really do.
And what do Peter and John do? They run to the Church, they run to their fellow believers, not to tell a story that says “hoo-whee, did we make those stuffed shirts look foolish! We stuck it to them!” No, they gather in joy and pray “thank you, God. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for making all things work to your glory, and for the salvation of your beloved people.” They rejoice in God and are blessed because of it.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks