Text: Acts 9:36-43
Charity (Photo credit: Danny McL)
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity… [When Peter arrived] All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Luke Timothy Johnson argues that “Luke uses a character’s disposition of possessions as a character indicator.” What might Luke have to say about our modern era of a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor and conspicuous consumption? What might your own use of your possessions say about you? Where are your priorities, according to how you spend your money, your time, your resources? Whom or what do you serve?
– Andy Kille
“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.
HOLY SPIRIT – FOIX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Text: Acts 10:44-48
Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’
What do you make of Peter’s testimony that these outsiders have already been empowered by God’s Holy Spirit without ever having been baptized? What is Peter suggesting about the power and nature of the Holy Spirit? How might one like a Gentile (non-believer or non-member) meet or be filled with the Holy Spirit? What is being suggested here about baptism? What do you suppose Peter might tell you is the purpose of baptism? What do you know of rules and regulations – traditions and historical conventions – that make this division by denying unbaptized people access to community or liturgy, receiving bread and wine at the Eucharist, even ordination? What do you know of unbaptized people you have known who extol and pray to God as well as speak in a holy tongue? What is the cost and promise of high walls and deep divisions along baptismal lines? What might be the cost and promise of crossing over them, welcoming, even being touched by Godly unbaptized hand?
– Bill Dols
“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.
Text: Acts 4:32-35
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Security spikes protect a gated community in the East End of London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The questions asked in the Exploring the Patterns portion of today’s lesson in BibleWorkbench ask us to explore our attitudes toward money and the concrete relationship between economics and the Kingdom of God—an essential exercise that I dare say most of us would rather skip. Christianity means very little if these issues of economic justice are ignored. There are other layers of meaning in the text, however. And I invite you to also look at the non-material patterns of selling, spending, saving, and sharing that exist in your relationships with others and self. Continue reading