Friday, December 26, 2008

Acts 6:1-7

On of my favorite Christmas ornaments is 17 years old now. It is made from the plastic lid of a disposable fast food type cup. The lid has red glitter spread on it. That’s the ornament. It is strung with green yarn, and a helpful children’s librarian wrote my 2 year old daughter’s name on the back. Each year one of my favorite traditions is seeing that plastic lid on our Christmas tree. Tradition is a kind of legacy.

One verse of today’s reading stood out to me. In verse 4, the leaders of the church said, we want to provide for widows, but we need to devote ourselves to prayer and to the Word. Today I often subconsciously view prayer as a “sideline” or tangential activity, but prayer is definitely part of the foundation of the early church. In Acts chapter 1, after the Ascension, the disciples “joined together constantly in prayer” (1:14). Here is this passage, after men were chosen to serve the widows, the apostles prayed for the men. Fervent prayer was not uncommon.

How did the apostles who formed the church know the importance of prayer? By learning from Jesus. In Luke 18:1 ff Jesus tells the story of the widow and the judge. His goal in telling the story, Luke says, was to “show them that they should always pray, and not give up.” So Luke understood.

Many people need our prayer, especially at this time of year. Our church needs our prayers. Prayer is one of our best traditions.

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