Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily Lenten Post, Day 13

Just under the wire, here's today's post...(not necessarily well proofread...)

First, I want to share a quote from an article in the current issue of Alive Now, discussing Sabbath, which I mentioned yesterday. This is by Lynne M. Baab, in an article called "A Sabbath from Brokenness":
"In the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is a day for prayers of thanks but not for prayers of intercession. I find this deeply thought-provoking. On the six work days of each week, we are called to partner with God in ministry to our hurting, broken world. This partnership includes praying for the enormous needs we see each day all around us in our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, as well as the needs we hear about in the news...On the Sabbath, however, we are invited to set aside those prayers for that day, to let go of our awareness of our own brokenness and the brokenness that affects the physical creation and all who dwell in it. We are invited into the abundance of God, who made a world so extravagantly provisioned that even the Creator and Sustainer could rest for a day after creating it. We are invited to enjoy a flower, a tree, a cloud, a cup of tea, the smile on the face of a loved one. We are invited to thank God for the good things in our lives. We are invited to rest in God's goodness."

Acts 18:25-28--Apollos
So, the scripture tells us that Apollos was good guy--a good speaker and teacher--but he needed further instruction, so Priscilla and Aquila took him in, taught him more about Jesus, and then sent him on. They didn't kick him out and call him a heretic, which seems to be one way we deal with those who teach what we think is incorrect or incomplete. On the other hand, though, I've had people decide to teach me what I'm supposed to believe because I was "wrong," and I didn't really appreciate that, so I guess it can go both ways.

Acts 19:1-22--Paul in Ephesus
I wonder if verses 1-7 are where people make an argument for re-baptizing, though the two baptisms are entirely different, I think. It seems odd that Paul finds this group of believers who just weren't taught everything and had no idea about being baptized in Jesus' name and receiving the Holy Spirit. Are we to assume that Apollos taught them, or maybe that Apollos had been one of them? I don't really know. I also wonder if this is where people get the "Jesus only" baptism theology. I don't know much about that, though.

In verse 10, Paul starts the pattern of teaching as he has before, but he stays there for two years, which is really a long time, so I guess it makes sense that "everyone...heard the Lord's word," in that time. Wow!

I'm really intrigued by verses 11-12, where Paul does many miracles. I wonder if it didn't seem just like magic or sorcery to the people, though. It's interesting that it doesn't mention the Holy Spirit this time, but does say that this is from God.

Verses 13-17 are really cool, in not the most wholesome of ways. I mean, talk about getting what's coming to you! That is impressive and entertaining that the evil spirit would take on fake healers like that. Don't mess with evil spirits if you're not really casting them out in Jesus' name, eh??!

And then, we read about these sorcerers burning all of their stuff, which would have been worth a lot of money. That's a really impressive show of "changing their hearts and lives," as the Common English Bible usually translates the word "repent." What do we have to show for our repenting?

Finally, Paul decides to leave, and things seem fine...but we'll see about that later...

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