Sunday, January 2, 2011

True Story

First Sunday of the year, and we're back in Acts. God has spoken to our community about 2011 being a year of continuity and enlargement. So we're continuing the 'Our picket fence dream' for a month series before we go to double services in February.

I love Acts because its story. Narrative theology is what the clever people call it. Even better than that, its true story - narrative without the airbrush, so the heroes are full of faith yet fragile, and the community described there is compelling and clumsy all at the same time.

One example of this is in Acts 12, the account in which Herod kills James and imprisons Peter at Passover. The church is gathered praying earnestly to God for Peter's rescue, and no doubt mourning the loss of one of the sons of thunder. What follows is an angelic intervention that releases Peter and he ends up knocking at the door of the prayer meeting.

Rhoda the servant girl is sent to answer the door, and when she interrupts the prayer meeting to tell them that their prayers have been answered, she's summarily dismissed. They insist its Peter's guardian angel. Their theology seems questionable and their their treatment of Rhoda seems harsh. Its a clumsy community, but a willing and earnest one, and God is gracious to them. He answers their prayer by releasing Peter,whom they eventually let in from outside! he also brings Herod's brutal rule to a quick and brutal end, and causes the Word of God to increase and multiply.

God doesn't wait until our communities are perfect before they are dynamic.I am not talking about empty triumphalism. This community had taken some serious knocks. But Jesus won through for them. Today He is still looking for willing, earnest communities to be detonators of his purposes with explosive effect. True Story.


  1. viva la church, compelling clumbsy raw communities of Gods people experiencing diving grace :)

  2. Maybe their theology is (seems) questionable...but you gotta ask why it is easier for them to believe that "of course" Rhoda saw Peter's angel, than that Peter himself was at the door, right? Which of us would EVER say that??? good or bad theology? We might say perhaps it is someone who looks like Peter, or could it be ~ oh, I don't know ~ his brother? but HIS ANGEL??? Did they see enough angels that it seems a "logical" mistake on Rhoda's part? So was it really a theology question? Or did they live with experiences so void in our lives that we relegate the question to "bad theology"?

  3. Good point Barbara. We do need to expect more of the miraculous including the angelic, although Paul does warn against a fixation with angels in Collossians. The theology of an individual having a 'guardian angel' is what I would question though, not so much their expectation for the angelic. And, I suppose, if it was an angel, why would he need to knock on the door? ;-)
    every blessing