Today’s Author: Steve Sveom

The theme word that was chosen for the reading about Paul and Silas in Acts 16:16-40 is “salvation.”  What does that word mean for us?  We often casually think that “salvation” is forgiveness of sins so that we have God’s gift of eternal life.  It really means far more than that as salvation is God’s work and will for the world.

In our story, the slave girl is given salvation from a spirit that possessed her and possibly from some of the exploitation that she faced.  Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned but their minds and hearts prayed and sang hymns – an indication of their salvation and internal freedom in the midst of dreadful circumstances.  Even though outwardly and physically imprisoned, they were saved by the grace of God.  The other prisoners, in their own captivity, listened to the prayers and hymns and witnessed the opening of the doors and unfastening of their chains.  The jailer, feared for his life, which could have been the punishment for letting prisoners escape, but was assured by Paul “we are all here.”  Still feeling threatened by being outnumbered, he called out, “what must I do to be saved?”  His temporary “salvation” from an immediate threat was challenged to a deeper salvation by Paul’s call to believe on the Lord Jesus.  The jailer, in a way, baptized the prisoners by washing their wounds and he shared a meal with them in a communion-like manner.  But he and his entire family were baptized into a deeper salvation as they believed on the Lord Jesus.

Salvation comes in immediate gifts of safety, of healing, of community, of freedom.  But it also comes in a deep and abiding faith that sustains in times of trouble, need and alienation from God and our neighbor.  Salvation comes to our world when the lion and the lamb lie down in peace and when healing and reconciliation prevails.  God’s work of salvation is accomplished in the day-by-day realities of grace and in the deepest, most eternal hope that we have with faith in God.  Today, I’m going to open my eyes and my heart to acknowledge the work of salvation that surrounds me.

Open my eyes to see your work in my life, O God.  Help me to see the daily graces of healing, of reconciliation, of love that signal your work and your desire for our salvation and well-being.  And, go deep inside me to bring me the fulness of your salvation and love that regardless of apparent suffering and pain can well-up in faith, hope and love.  Amen.

“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.