Scripture - Acts 4:21 - After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people,
Theme - The Insurgency of the Spirit
Devotion - As unusual as it may seem to us, Spirit has a long and active history of insurgency against the powers and authorities of the world. Israel's founding story is one in which God intervenes to liberate the hebrews from Egyptian oppression. And many more of Israel's stories reveal the cruelty and injustice of political powers; Esther and the Persian King Ahaseurus, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, Elijah's confrontation with King Ahab, Jeremiah's criticism of the religious and political leaders of Judah. Israel even includes a story of the great King David's violence and cruelty when he has one of his own soldiers Uriah in essence murdered in order to marry Uriah's wife Bathsheba.
The Spirit's insurgency isn't violent nor is it for political gain. It is a response from God to cruelty and injustice. It is rooted in the strong belief and hope that God is a just ruler, the ultimate authority. For instance, in Psalm 10 we find this plaintive cry and bold testimony, 'The Lord is King for ever and ever; You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.' Unlike the powers as described in this weeks story, God's power and authority is always directed toward and in service to the poor, the vulnerable, those ignored and abused by earthly powers and authorities.
As Paul taught us earlier this week, the insurgency of the Spirit is meant to reveal the wisdom of God to the powers and authorities. There is no simple or easy answer as we discern how it is we are meant to carry on Peter's call to take a bold call of repentance to those in power and authority in our time and place. But it is clear that God has NOT created and called the early church to be complicit or compliant when the power and authorities enact laws and systems that oppress and dispossess. Perhaps it is best that we begin with the spiritual discernment encouraged last week, which is to ponder if, when and how we have been manipulated by powers and authorities. Then we can consider the social implications of returning to a new covenant that is based on the sharing of bread and the washing of one anothers feet.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.