Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Acts 3-4

At our last celebration service I got the chance to speak on the story from Acts chapters three and four. This is the famous story of Peter and John being tried in front of the Sanhedrin. I tried looking at this story from an overall kind of angle. If Acts were a novel, which it's close to being, then this would be the second chapter of the novel. The plot twist where everything which has been going well starts to go wrong. It's in this part of the story that the persecution of the church really starts. The frightening fact that we looked at was that the persecution of the church started not from the political realm, the masses, or from the Roman empire but from the people's own religious institution.

The high priests and the other religious leaders in power were afraid. They were afraid because they had believed that by killing Jesus they would be able to stop the kind of talk which stirred up the people. They were afraid that the Romans would come and destroy everything they had; the temple, their worship, and their nation.

This was a fear dominated and intertwined with arrogance. They believed in the strength of their opinions. They believed in their dominance of power and influence, but this short interaction with Peter and John in these chapters proved that this self-assurance and arrogance was unfounded. This also made them afraid of their position, their authority and their identity.

It can be very difficult when we feel challenged and afraid. And although we may not throw people in prison or beat them very often, the persecution of others with different ideas, theology or styles is rampant in the church and other religious institutions today.

The way that we react to new ideas can often show how comfortable we are with our own beliefs, and often when we react with anger without exploring, it's showing more about how secure we are in our own beliefs than anything else.

This week I have a series of questions which are trying to get us to look into our past actions so that we can figure out where we have been arrogant, and where we have been fearful

Have you ever rejected a theological idea or concept without exploring it? Why was your basis for abandoning it outright? What would scare you if it was true?

Have you ever spoke against, or disproved of a different denomination, or spiritual tradition? Do you have any real understanding of that tradition? Is there anything which would terrify you to find out that it was right? Why?

Have you ever rejected an idea simply because of where it came from? What person, kind of person, or kind of people do you usually ignore? What is it that you fear them?

Have you ever rejected books, movies, music or art simply because they don't belong to the Christian culture? What fear keeps you from these things?

Discuss these in your group, or even on your own. feel free to journal down your answers and spend some time in prayer asking God to help you to think about the way you react to people with different ideas, and how we can approach them in a more loving and accepting way.

No comments:

Post a Comment