One Lenten season, during children’s church, we began practicing contemplative prayer. We would sit still for one minute and just “be” in the presence of God. At first, it was difficult; but as the weeks went on, the children and adult leaders began to slow their minds and relax into this time of prayer. Then I asked if they had experienced God during the silence. Many children felt love, warmth, or peace. One four-year-old said, “You know when the light of God rushes through your whole body and you just know he is alive? That is what I felt!” This little girl had experienced the living Jesus, the same one who rushed through the body of the lame man whom Peter healed in this passage from Acts. Just like the people who watched the the healing of the man and who “wondered and stared” at Peter, the adults who heard the words of this little girl stared in wonder.
We know that Christ is risen. But at times his resurrection can feel like a one-time story from long ago. And then there are those moments when we feel the living presence of Christ and we are struck with the wonder of it all! A friend calls just when we need them, and we are suddenly aware that there is a living Christ who knows our needs before we even ask. We do not have enough money to pay our bills, and an unexpected check arrives in the mail. We have almost given up hope, and suddenly we feel a calming presence of the living Christ and find peace and comfort.
The people stood in wonder after witnessing the healing of a lame man, and Peter reminded them that they were witnessing the power of the risen Christ.
O God, as the risen Christ, you show up in my life time and time again, and I am filled with wonder! Thank you! In the name of Christ. Amen.
A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?
Read Acts 3:12-19. Recall a moment when you felt the presence of Christ in your life in an unexpected way. How does that moment stay with you in the times when you feel overwhelmed?
Read Psalm 4. Do you feel free to cry out to God when you are in distress? If not, what inhibits you?
Read 1 John 3:1-7. How does your identity as a child of God empower you to deeds of love in your daily life?
Read Luke 24:36b-48. What story of the risen Christ do you have to share with others? How will you share your story?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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