"From the Pulpit" - Reflections on the Weekly Texts, from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church
36Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ.
I know most of us don't spend a lot of our precious time reading Scripture, especially stuff from Acts (which, by the way, is an extension of Luke's gospel - the writer wrote these two as one gospel.) This little piece for Sunday is almost a microcosm of the gospel itself, when we slow down and take in this scene in a little house in Joppa. Here, Luke actually names Tabitha/Dorcas as a female disciple. Yes, a woman disciple!
And this disciple, as do most disciples, was devoted to good works. She did good things for her community, offered acts of charity, the text says. Later, we learn that some of those works involve making tunics, and other clothing that she apparently gave away to those in need in her community. So here is a member of the community doing good works for others.
Then, she dies. And again, the community rallies around, grieving as we would do in the death of one among us. Her friends summon Peter, now emboldened with the power of the Holy Spirit. And with this power, Peter is able to revivify Dorcas. There is new life as she is restored back to her community of faith. Think Lazarus, and others who were restored to their community after dying.
And finally, in this scene, there is the "going out" to tell others of the power of Christ that Peter brings to their beloved Dorcas, and the entire community. The excitement of the power of the Holy Spirit's presence, which filled this little community can't be contained. They have to go out and tell others about its healing effects on them.
Disciples doing good work in their community, supporting those among them who may have been in need. Using one's gifts and talents to make things to give away to others. Supporting in love, those whose lives may not have been as full as others in the community. The power of the resurrection in Christ. The power to heal and restore. And finally, the excitement of sharing the good news with others in the community. All of these are marks of a strong Christian community, both then and now. Simple. Nothing terribly earth shaking to the wider world. And yet, powerful in its own way. We're dealing with so much fear, and anxiety in our world today. Supreme Court decisions, climate change, war in Ukraine, deeply divisive political climate, stock markets plunging. And we are fed with so much misinformation or disinformation, we hardly know where to turn for "truth". And yet I find comfort in our own little communities of faith, however large or small. Just like our own. We hear the voice of the shepherd in this community of believers. That voice is a voice that can be trusted to cut through the noise of our world. May you find comfort not so much in the noise and ear pollution that is our world today, but in this little faith community we call Living Lord Lutheran Church. A community of sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ himself. A "flock" of sheep lost except for the voice of the anointed One. May you be confident to follow this lone voice amidst the noise of so many other competing voices in our world today. And may you find it as close as the bread and wine we share each Sunday. May you find it as close as those who will gather each week, in our prayers, in the sharing of the peace, in our singing. In our grieving the loss of loved ones. And more. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Happy Mother's Day to all moms and those who serve or have served in that capacity!
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