Today’s Author: Steve Sveom

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:16-34

Jesus has gotten a reputation for being a symbol of the status quo and “respectable” society.  That is the furthest thing from the biblical reality.  Jesus was disruptive and disturbing.  As Paul and Silas ordered the spirit of divination out of the slave girl and proclaimed the name of Jesus, they challenged the money-making schemes of her owners.  The owners used the methods of society to bring Paul and Silas under control – they seized them, dragged them before the magistrates, and accused them of disturbing the city.  They used the “law” to protect themselves from the disruption of Jesus.  Power, coercion, and violence were used to impose order.  As we look around us, we see money, power, and violence being used to oppress and control.  Paul and Silas were flogged and put in prison.

Paul and Silas didn’t respond in kind.  Violence, hatred, oppression, money, and power were not in their tool kit.  They endured, they sang hymns, and they witnessed to their faith in spite of oppressive opposition.  

As we observe Vladimir Putin we see him trying to use force to impose his will.  We see mass murderers use violence to express their fear and frustration to make a statement.  Political parties care more about building power and influence than about fairness and inclusion.  Wealth is sought by exploitation without compassion for our neighbors.  Jesus is disruptive of these rules.  He challenges the ways these “rules” are used to protect and maintain power and position and instead lives the humility of the cross and non-violence.  

Paul and Silas stood with faith in the midst of opposition.  The result was the building of a community with the other prisoners and with the jailer and his household.  We are part of the community of faith that needs to be disrupted and disruptive of the values that are so prevalent.  Faith is listening for how God’s story informs our own and practicing our response.  Being in community with hope, song, humility and non-violence need to be in our toolkit of faith in Jesus.

Prayer:  Disrupt us and give us faith to meet opposition from prevalent values in our society.  Humble us and give us the heart of Christ.  Let us listen to the story of God to inform our own story and practice our response.  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.