Readings for Dorcas of Jopa
“Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.* She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.” (Acts 9:36)
The first thing I notice is that this is a female disciple or student. We should be thankful to Luke for lifting up Dorcas so that we can see the inclusiveness of Christianity from the beginning of the Church. The second thing I notice is that while she is a student of the Way, she was also devoted to good works and acts of charity.
I have learned that Dorcas, her Greek name, as well as Tabitha, her Aramaic name, means gazelle. This might explain why in the translation of her name the animal has two distinct names for each language. When I ponder about gazelles I see a fleet footed grazer that does little harm to the earth while playing an important part in moving seeds around and fertilizing the plains not to mention the grace and beauty inherent in the creature.
I wonder about what kind of animal would I be called today of I had to have an animal name. Perhaps because of the way we waste the earth and do little to maintain it “human” is the worst name we could be called. No animal would want to be called human and we aren’t good enough to shame another animal’s name for ourselves. So our gazelle or “Dorcas” was good to others as she learned about Jesus from Peter and was raised from the dead by him. (Acts 9:40)
Dorcas made clothing. Perhaps she was the fashion setter of her day. She was a working student or disciple. Our take-away from Dorcas is that we too should be creative, lifelong learners who give much more than we take and be given to good works and charity.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+