Faith on Fire – Week 6
Good Morning Mummy Meditators!
This season we have found ourselves in has brought with it lots of news things. Grappling with new things often brings conflicts to the forefront, much as the first Christians found out. And that is the theme of this week’s verse:
“Peter and the other apostles replied: We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead – whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.” Acts 5:29-30
CHANGE BRINGS CHALLENGE
When things change, it forces us to think about what we think and believe. In the time when Jesus was around, his preaching and teaching was SO different to what the people were used to that it challenged people. They were challenged about their own beliefs, about whether they were happy with the old religious ways of doing things, and whether they truly believed that a Messiah was coming. It challenged people on their motives, and whether they were really just protecting themselves and their positions. Challenge either brings growth and new realisations if you accept this the bringer of change, or it brings something else – conflict as it opposes what we belief and want, and resentment at the change maker.
Has lockdown brought growth to us as we reflect and have new realisations, or has it brought resentment and a conflicted heart?
CHANGE BRINGS CONFLICT
In Jesus’ time we clearly saw that Pharisees and Chief Priest resenting the change that Jesus represented and brought, and so they tried to stop it. This is when the conflict started. It became them versus Jesus, ultimately resulting in Jesus’ death. The Pharisees then thought they had won, but then the church was born!! This verse is the result of the church being a change that was unstoppable – God was on it’s side!
I guess you could say that the coronavirus was unstoppable too! It has swept through our country even though we don’t want it and changed things in ways we never expected. We’ve been conflicted when having to choose not to see our families because of it, or angry when we’ve seen others not obeying the rules. We’ve been upset that we cannot meet as church in the way we want to. BUT we can see the heart behind the rules – to protect us and keep people safe.
How has we reacted when lockdown has made us feel conflicted? Have we ever thought that the rules were anti-church or not on God’s side?
CHANGE FORCES US TO DECIDE WHICH SIDE WE WILL STAND ON
The crux of this week’s verse to me is this choice. “We must obey God rather than human beings“. Change certainly forces us to make decisions and decide which side we stand on. Back in Jesus day this was very clearly a choice between Christianity and accepting Jesus as saviour, or rejecting him completely. It was clearly a man vs God situation. Lockdown hasn’t been quite so black and white. We have still been able to worship in many ways, we have had amazing opportunities to serve and love our communities, all whilst obeying the rules set out by our government to stop the virus.
To me, the choice here is to be loving and protect others by following the rules, something that speaks volumes of Jesus’ second greatest commandment “to love others as yourselves”, and to break the rules and be selfish, for our own desires and wants, something that speaks of the human heart condition and desire to rule our own lives. To me it is love vs selfishness. And so if we obey God, who is love, then the choice is simple.
After seeing the conflict this week, we turn to see the reaction from the Pharisees. I found this verse particularly inspiring and surprising, and hope you all do to:
“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” Acts 5:38-39
The lovely Helen Jarman will be leading our Facebook Live discussion this week, so watch the group for announcements on which day/time it will be!