Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Acts 3:1-11

Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.

May the Lord shower you with blessings this day and every day. Our individual lives provide so many opportunities every day to show the love of God. May this be another one of those days where the example we set by our behavior to others clearly illustrates that love.

The Bible contains countless examples where God’s love and forgiveness is illustrated by acts of kindness and compassion. Today’s reading from Acts is just another example. “The Beggar at the gate” is a well-known story with meaning at all levels of comprehension. It can be read as a very simple example of compassion by Peter and John for a poor beggar sitting at a gate into Jerusalem. The Bible is full of such stories.

With each successive reading I have discovered more and more of the significance of this story. The most profound revelation for me was to really see myself as the beggar at the gate. In fact, are we not all beggars at the gate to some extent? We have our own personal and too often private afflictions. Also, are we not always begging in our own way? In our relations with others, are we not seeking relief from those afflictions?

John and Peter demanded that the beggar look at them. The beggar must acknowledge who and what they are. They are followers of Jesus Christ and emissaries of God. To receive relief, the beggar must acknowledge where the relief comes from. Many people pass the gate into Jerusalem. Peter and John are special.

The beggar is seeking silver and gold. Is that what he really needed? No. He needed to be healed. I often find myself seeking the things I don’t really need but ignore what I really need. I spent many years and mountains of energy in my working career seeking promotions and those rewards that satisfied my ego and self-respect. All this when what I really needed was a secure job that provided the security to provide for my family and allow me to devote my energies to meaningful contribution to the people around me.

The beggar was healed and publicly acknowledged that it was from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The beggar was used as an instrument of Godly love by Peter and John to publicly show this love to the world. We have this opportunity every day. May God give me the grace and strength to use the opportunity.

AMEN

John Dickie

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