Saturday, September 30, 2006

Acts 20:1-16

In today’s reading, Paul preaches late into the night. His listeners are so captivated by his words that they continue listening, in spite of the lateness of the hour -- all but one. Eutychus, a young man, succumbs to sleep and falls three floors, to his death. “But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, said, ‘Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him,’” (v.10) Paul then continues where he left off, breaks bread with them, and preaches until morning.

For whatever reason, and we’re pretty good at validating them, we, too, sometimes fall asleep even as the Word of God echoes in our heads. Consciously or unconsciously, sometimes we stumble and sometimes we fall off the path created for us by the life and death and words of Jesus. Do you ignore the needs of the people around you, especially those most important to you -- your spouse, your children, your friends? Do you turn a blind eye to social injustices in the world? In your community? Do you dismiss the plight of the less fortunate (not just the poor, or hungry, or disabled, or imprisoned, but also those who are lonely, or angry, or confused), thinking there is nothing you can do? Have you stopped caring about, or even praying for, the needs or problems of others?

Of course, the good news is that God is there to put His arms around each one of us. He is always ready to breathe new life into you and into me.

Heavenly Father, may Your grace stir the life that is in us, enlighten our minds, and energize our spirits. May we awaken to the needs of others, in our own homes, in our community, in our world. And with eyes and hearts wide open and focused on You, may we live Your Word daily. Amen.

Martha Olson

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