Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Second Pentecost: Acts 4:1-31 with poem by Richard Chenevix Trench, Prayer

Daily Readings
Psalm 2, Genesis 4, Isaiah 10:1-4, 5:11-24, Acts 4:1-31

Daily Text: Acts 4:1-31

A Second Pentecost
The resurrection becomes the issue immediately In Acts 4. The leaders don’t want to recognize this, but what can they do? Produce a body? The apostles have already demonstrated evidence of the power of God—speaking in tongues, healing, quoting from Scripture.
All of these things add up to irrefutable evidence, tying the hands of the would-be persecutors, and keeping them from being able to do more than threaten. Klausner [549:104] is quoted as saying:
This was the first mistake which the Jewish leaders made with regard to the new sect. And this mistake was fatal. There was probably no need to arrest the Nazarenes, thus calling attention to them and making them ‘martyrs.’ But once arrested, they should not have been freed so quickly. The arrest and release increased the number of believers; for these events showed on the one hand that the new sect was a power which the authorities feared enough to persecute, and on the other hand they proved that there was no danger in being a disciple of Jesus (he, of course, being the one who had saved them from the hand of their persecutors!)

Peter and John, once threatened and released, go immediately to their friends and report. What a privilege to have such a body of friends with whom to associate and share the dangers. The group’s response is to pray and ask for boldness to keep on speaking and God’s response is to send the Holy Spirit again, as on the day of Pentecost, and to fill them with the boldness they were requesting. Such explicit answers to prayer!

Richard Chenevix Trench

Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make!
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched grounds refresh as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline brave and clear;
We kneel, how weak! We rise, how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong
Or others, that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee!


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