The chimes were down for a time, for rest and repair. With the wind blowing and the chimes up again, what do you hear?
The Acts of the Apostles was the subject matter for a recent teaching series presented by Brian D. McLaren.
I was at Claremont Seminary last week with a vigorous and energetic group of Methodist leaders (along with a standing-room-only public panel with my friends Philip Clayton, Diana Butler Bass, and Mark Whitlock). I concluded my time at Claremont leading a study from the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. From childhood, I was taught to read Acts as a manual for ecclesiology … to prove that our denomination was the only true and biblical one, of course (a common theme in Protestant Bible reading). But now I read Acts as a missional account of how Jesus continued his work – his Spirit alive in the bodies of growing numbers of his followers who constitute – quite literally – his body on earth.
And the message is the same – the message of the kingdom (or reign, or commonwealth, or sacred ecosystem, or new love economy, or regeneration network, or creative community, or …) of God. You could think of it like this …
Acts 1: The risen Christ teaches the apostles, as he always has, about the kingdom of God. The apostles learn to stop waiting for the kingdom to appear in the future, and instead, wait for the Spirit who will empower them to live in the kingdom here and now.
Acts 2: The Spirit comes – and demonstrates that God is not monocultural and monolingual, but that God speaks all languages, and God is concerned with the poor and rich alike, everywhere … a profound, revolutionary discovery!
Acts 3: Peter demonstrates how the Kingdom begins with those who have been marginalized and excluded (kept outside the gate) by conventional religion – starting with the physically handicapped.
Read the rest of his post here: I love the Bible
In our Prayers of the People, Form III we petition God:
“Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake; [so] that our works may find favor in your sight.” BCP, p. 387. May it be so, even as it was for the Apostles and the early Church.
Read more about the Book of Acts:
- Introduction in the New International Version of the Bible
- Introduction in the New American Bible Revised Edition
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