The Acts of the Apostles
I hope you’ve enjoyed our reflections on Ruth over the last couple of weeks. Ruth is often an overlooked book of the Bible and is always worth a good read!
We turn now to the Acts of the Apostles – readings from Acts often crop up in Eastertide in the Sunday Lectionary. It tells of the start of the Christian Church after Jesus’ ascension. It is, in many ways, a continuation of the Gospels in that it’s full of stories but, in other ways, provides a bridge to the Epistles as the long speeches in Acts are packed with early theology trying to make sense of what God had done in Jesus Christ.
The same author wrote Luke and Luke/Acts can be conceived of as a work in two parts. The early parts of Acts are set in Jerusalem where the primary work of the Church is to proclaim the Good News to the Jewish people. Later Gentiles are welcomed into the Church under the guidance, first of Peter then of Paul. The book ends in Rome where Paul awaits trial.
Acts shows how a Jewish group of Jesus’ followers understood their mission to convert Gentiles especially as their news of Jesus as the long-promised Messiah didn’t convince many of their co-religionists. It is a mix of fast moving narrative with longer speeches packed with theology.
It’s always an interesting read but for those of us in the West it’s especially interesting as a small group of disciples set about preaching and witnessing to their faith in an age which was either hostile or indifferent, preoccupied with its own cultural concerns and seeing little of value in the Church – sound familiar?
I hope that, over the next couple of months, as we read and pray our way through Acts we become more aware of ways in which we can share our faith to an indifferent, yet hurting, world.
with every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship