This is what the kings of ancient days could do, “Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church” (v. 1). For some reason Herod had some of the followers of Jesus killed. Why? Acts does not tell us, but we are told that James, the son of Zebedee was put to death. I believe Acts included this happening because it best reveals the climate in which the early church was trying their very best to grow the Church, as the Body of Christ. This killing was included in Acts to show how difficult it was during the early struggling years of Christ’s followers. The Church of Christ, which we are a part of and serve even in our day, had many enemies who tried to do away with it almost before it began. This leads me to think about the church of our day.
I have been an Ordained Minister of The Church of Jesus Christ since March 9, 1969. I was ordained in my home church, Bethlehem UCC, located in Youngstown, Ohio. I know this was a long time ago but to me it seems as if it just happened. Why I bring this up is to show how much the Church has grown and changed through the years. We did not have to have armed guards or city police making sure that no one would try to disrupt or bring charges to those of us who were publicly making our statement of faith. No, the atmosphere was one of loving acceptance and joy, to be able to begin one’s total commitment to the worshiping Community of Faith! Outside of feeling a wonderful sense of being honored as becoming a humble servant of The Lord, to be called and installed a minister of The Word was most humbling and exciting.
I share this joyful experience at this time because I think it shows how far we have come as believers of the Good News. We did not even give it a thought that what we were celebrating as followers of the Lord could be seen by some as a threat to their way of life. In our service we welcomed all believers to come as a sign of support and belief in the Way that our Lord Jesus years ago brought to humankind. From the Book of Acts as we read it today we learn that it did not begin in this spirit. As we read of the struggle our forefathers went through to keep their faith and to grow our faith, it ought to give each of us total appreciation of what we have been given to keep growing today, The Church Universal of our Risen Savior, Jesus the Christ! May we be inspired to do our best to pass it on for all the generations to come, the faith that leads us today.
O Lord God, our Heavenly Father, thank You for the inspiration of Your sacred Word which calls us to be true and faithful so that The Church, as the Body of Christ, will stay alive and well as long as life remains. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.
The Light of God surrounds me – The Love of God enfolds me – The Power of God protects me The Presence of God watches over me – Where ever I am God is – PRAY OFTEN!