August 4th Weekly Meditation
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. (Acts 3:1-2)
As I read this passage of scripture this morning, my first impression was, "How nice of this man's neighbors to carry him to the gate so that he could beg for a living." It was neighbor helping neighbor. What a good message to share.
Then as I sat with the text for a few minutes I found myself getting upset with the neighbors. I thought, "Really, that's all they can do for this guy is carry him to the gate so he could beg for a living?" Talk about doing the least you could do.
Finally, I thought about the rest of the story. As Peter and John walked by the man, he asked them for money. Peter told him he had "no silver or gold, but what I do have I will give you." Peter then healed the man. Suddenly, this man who was lame since birth was jumping up and dancing around the Temple. He was walking and praising God and everyone who saw it were amazed.
There is nothing wrong with helping a neighbor, nor is there anything wrong with receiving help from our neighbors. What finally struck me here was that Peter and John asked the question, "Why does our neighbor need help in the first place and what can we do about THAT?"
Lots of people talk about giving a "hand up" rather than a "hand out" but then the healing needed so that those in need can leap up and walk on their own never comes to pass. While Jesus, and later his disciples, was concerned with individuals and making sure they were fed and healed and nurtured in faith, he was also working to bring near the kingdom of God for all people. In that new world Jesus was proclaiming, everyone was already fed and whole and a beloved child of God.
Dom Helder Camara, an Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil, said it this way:
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
Peter said, "What I do have I will give you." In the name of Jesus Christ, go and do likewise.
Worship This Week
Thursday, August 6, 6:30pm, on the north sidewalk
Sunday, August 9, 9am in the Peace Garden and on Facebook Live
This Week: An Angry World
If you choose to join us in person, please wear a mask and practice social distancing
Don Beck Family Benefit, Sunday, August 9, 3-6pm
Spaghetti by Peans Dinner and Drive-thru Raffle
West St. in front of the elementary school (turn off Rte. 20)
$10 Adults, $5 kids (<12)
For more information, go to Facebook, #coachbeckstrong
Keep In Prayer:
Lorrie Watkins, Addie Weaver, Helen Payne
Our shut-ins: Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne