Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Acts 4:5-12

Easter 4 – Year B

Acts 4:5-12

Again with the proclamation, not the action.

Prelude Note: in verse 4 we hear of 5,000 people responding when Peter and John speak about “resurrection from the dead”. The scene is one of arrest by “Priests, Temple Captain, and Sadducees” in the presence of these 5,000. At this point in the story we are still carrying on the tradition of Jesus regarding a rejection of violence. Scripturally it is difficult to condone violence in Jesus’ name.

Remembering the adversarial nature of a trial setting, it is easy to understand Peter’s advocacy for “Jesus Only”. Setting the narrowness of the assertion about Jesus aside for the moment, what is not easy is our own response to the questions, “Who put you in charge here? What business do you have doing what you do?” [The Message] or “By what power or by what name did you do what you did?” [NRSV]

We sometimes find ourselves surprised at being effective in a healing and needing to come up with a reason for it, a surmise about how to replicate it. On these occasions it is probably best to be a bit tentative. After some experiences we can begin to be a bit more secure about some elements of healing, but it is a mistake to think that healing is only science and not art.

Behind this utilitarian response to the questions, there is the larger question of why we bother to engage the attempt to make the present better.

Verse 13 begins to move toward a response of “boldness” being what we need – a boldness to proclaim while G*D acts (vss 29-30). As you work with your response, you may find that proclamation is not a stand-alone unit. We need to reclaim our partnership with G*D in action and be a bit more tentative about the proclamation – a Living God is pretty hard to pin down to one mode of validation.

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