ACTS 21: Listen to ‘This is me’ and make it your own
We’re over half way through this journey through the Book of Acts – it’s certainly quite a ride!
If you’re just joining us, welcome aboard! We’re reading a chapter a day and I’m providing a link to the chapter in the NIV(UK) version, but you can of course read the chapter in whatever version you like. I’ve been sharing some short reflections, but the important part is the last part: ACTION.
I wonder how you’ve been getting on with the short challenges I’ve been setting…
READ: Acts 21
REFLECTION: Paul knows where he is heading. He has set his sights on his destination and nothing and no one will stand in his way.
He passes through many different countries and cities on the way. It’s a winding path that he takes to Jerusalem. Along the way, the people are urging him not to carry on. They fear for his safety. All these goodbyes are emotional: he has to tear himself away from these people he’s created relationships with and move on towards his goal.
Paul knows that he will face opposition and persecution and probably imprisonment in Jerusalem. But he knows that this is where he needs to be. He has the courage to walk the path set out for him. He cannot be dissuaded.
The Lord’s will be done.
Let it be as God ordains.
The conversation in Jerusalem about Jews and Gentiles, law and circumcision and purification doesn’t make a lot of sense to us in the modern world. We’ve moved on significantly from that particular context. For many, the Way was still bound up in their Jewish faith and tradition. Thirty years after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, the believers were still working out what it meant to live as a follower of the Way. The church and what it stood for was evolving by the day.
It’s the same for us today. So much has changed in so many different aspects of life since Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago. We’re still working out what it means to live as a follower of the Way. The church and what it stands for needs to be evolving by the day.
Paul was seen and treated as a heretic by the Jews. The worst kind of heretic – one who came from within their own tradition, who should have known better. He was leading the people astray with his false teachings and needed to be silenced. A heretic is seen to promote any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, someone who is prepared to stand up and say ‘I know we’ve always done it this way, but what if there is a better way?’ These people are seen as subversive by some, unsettling, rocking the boat of established religion. Others find this way progressive and compelling and radical.
It really isn’t so very different to what is going on in the world today. The church today needs its heretics, I would suggest, to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
ACTION: Listen to ‘This is me’ and make it your own
Look at Paul. He was able say ‘This is me. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.’ He knew who he was and what he was about and moved forward with courage in the strength of that certainty.
So today, listen to ‘This is me’ by Keala Settle from ‘The Greatest Showman’. Have a look at the lyrics and use them to explore who you are and what you are about.
Sing along. Sing it loud and proud.
Allow God to speak to you through these words so you can find the courage to be unapologetically you.