Faith on Fire – Week 10
Happy Sunday Mummy Meditators!
We are now half way through the summer holidays (apparently!) and into week 10 of this series. And every week this gets more challenging. This week we were meditating on the following verse:
“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” Acts 8:1-3
What causes people to act in this way?
This week I finished my book and started a new one. Normally I read quite easy things that help me fall asleep, but not this time. The book I have started reading is about a hostage situation inside an abortion clinic, with a slightly crazed gunman. The gunman believed he was doing the right thing, taking action against an something that was threatening his family and way of life. Essentially the only difference between him and those at the clinic were their beliefs on one things – abortion. And yet that was enough for him to act in a violent way against them.
It reminded me of our verse this week, and made me turn it on it’s head. I was focusing on how the new Christians must have felt, the terror going through their minds as they had to flee or be dragged from their homes for what they believed. When instead, God reminded me to think of the others. The Jews who were scared of this new thing they didn’t quite understand, but was threatening their way of life. The people who had climbed their way to power, seeing this new way of life as a threat to all they had worked for.
You see, yes it’s important to understand how the early Christians felt, but actually much more relevant to us is to understand how those on the other side feel when confronted with the powerful truth of the gospel! It is threatening, it demands change and action, whether in a positive or negative way. It can’t be ignored. And whilst I don’t agree that killing and imprisoning the early Christians was right, I do understand why people reacted that way. I can understand Stephen’s reaction last week and Jesus’s words on the cross to forgive them because they don’t really understand. They are just acting out of fear. It’s a reaction, not an understanding.
So this week, instead of concentrating on how lucky we are not to be faced with violence against our beliefs in this part of the world, lets pray for those who are threatened by the gospel, who see their lives at odds with it, and who don’t yet understand. Pray for understanding instead of reaction.
We move on to look at a different early Christian and how he reacts to the move of the Holy Spirit, as we meditate on this verse:
“The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” Acts 8:29-31