Readings for Wednesday Proper 11 of Year 1
“When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.” (Acts 14: 27)
In the Cursillo Movement we are given a little card for our reunion groups. This card is used to lead us through our small group gatherings as we come together and it asks us about the past week. One of our old cards would ask, “What has the Lord accomplished through you, in your work, your family, and your friends?” I thought this was an interesting way to frame this question. It makes me realize that it is not I that accomplish the good deeds but God working through me.
The Apostles realize that as they go from place to place God is working through them. The same is true today. Our hands, feet, lips and minds are the instruments of God to bring peace to our world. We just need to get out of the way and let God do God’s thing.
I also like the way “they called the church together.” We are church even when we are not together. Richard Hooker (1600), in my view, one of the greatest Anglican Theologians ever contends, “Concerning the nature of the Church, Hooker wrote: “The Church is always a visible society of men; not an assembly, but a Society. For although the name of the Church be given unto Christian assemblies, although any multitude of Christian men congregated may be termed by the name of a Church, yet assemblies properly are rather things that belong to a Church. Men are assembled for performance of public actions; which actions being ended, the assembly dissolveth itself and is no longer in being, whereas the Church which was assembled doth no less continue afterwards than before.” (Taken from Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 3) Hooker is a person of his time and therefore the gender “men” would now be “persons,” even, I am sure, by Hooker himself. My point is, that we, individually are the Church and we should conduct ourselves accordingly at all times.
There can be hardships and personal costs involved in this miracle work. Paul was stoned and left for dead. “Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city.” (Acts 14:19 – 20) This almost seems funny if not so tragic. Today, and in this country, you and I would probably not get stoned or in any way harmed for trying to preach peace and harmony. So why are we not out promoting it?
Maybe one of the reasons for calling the church together on Sundays is to “relate all that God had done (and is doing) with them (and us). Church (assembled) should be a check-in time. And like the little cards maybe we should ask the question “What has the Lord accomplished through us, in our work, our family, and our friends?” But we must remember, that in the “doing” it is not us, but God acting in us who is doing the real work of opening the door of faith to all the world.
Let us ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+