Day 44 & 45:
Tuesday & Wednesday
1 Peter 1.3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(Sorry about the interruption—I will back-fill the devotions I have missed this week and last week, and try to write the ones for next week, too, as we will be traveling to Seattle to see the grandkids in their production of Shrek. I am truly enjoying this journey with you exploring what those 50 days after Jesus rose from the dead have meant to us. Thank you for understanding the complications of this last week—as my iPad keyboard would not work---and trying to type on it was frustrating. However, the time with family was awesome.)
As I try to get back on track—the amazing realization for me is the inclusive nature of the early church. Not only are Gentiles being welcomed into the group—enemies are being embraced and everyone to the ends of the earth is being told the good news. Conversion is not just for individuals—it is meant to bless the entire community. Willimon cautions: “Acts seeks to help the church identify itself to itself, to confirm it in its struggles, and to help adjudicate its internal disputes. Conversion as evidence of the miraculous power of God to make the church the church and to overcome every enemy and boundary is at the very center of the church’s life. We ignore the phenomenon of conversion at the peril of losing the church.”
Too often people think that they are responsible for keeping the church alive—but one thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that the church is all about following God’s actions not about embracing human heroes or heroines. As Willimon says, “Accounts of conversion are lovingly retold by the church as confirmation of the continuing power of God to create the Christian community ex nihilo, fresh in each generation by the power of the Spirit. The church, even in its most trying times, may take heart, knowing that all is not left up to us nor is the community of faith of our sole creation.” I find this both humbling and encouraging.
If the church is God’s creation and not an organization that humanity formed on its own, how does it differ from other institutions?
Recap Prayer: Dear Jesus, You gave us the church as a gift when you established a community of faith on this earth with the Great Commandment and we have created all kinds of requirements to belong. Help us to embrace Your truth and to let anything that is not important fall away. Amen.
 Willimon, William H. (2010-07-15). Acts: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (p. 104). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
 Ibid, 102.