I recently found a journal that I had kept daily for the first five years of my son Julian’s life. During that period of time, his younger brother Britton was born, my marriage fell apart, and I was caring for my mother who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Needless to say, every entry in my journal began with the words, “I am tired today.” Those were some of the most difficult days of my life. The agony of divorce, the pain of watching my mother slowly die, and the physical and emotional needs of my babies were almost too much to bear.
My journal reminded me of the pain and hardship of those years, but my memories are mostly of a God who held me tight and loved me through my deepest, darkest days. I know there is a God who sustains us through difficult, hopeless times because I witnessed God’s love and power in my own life.
In today’s scripture, the disciples have just been through the worst experience of their lives. The One they have followed, learned from, and loved dearly, has been arrested, beaten, and killed on a cross. It was traumatic. But now he has risen! And because of all they have experienced, it is time for them to bear witness and share their story with others. Like those disciples—because I witnessed the power of God through the dark times of my life—I have a story to share. I am a witness to the risen Christ too. Think of the times in your own life where you have been a witness to the power of God. This is your story to share!
O God, I have seen your glory and experienced your presence in my life. I hear your call to share my story with others because, like the first disciples, I am a witness of all these things. In the name of Christ. Amen.
A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?
Read Acts 3:12-19. Recall a moment when you felt the presence of Christ in your life in an unexpected way. How does that moment stay with you in the times when you feel overwhelmed?
Read Psalm 4. Do you feel free to cry out to God when you are in distress? If not, what inhibits you?
Read 1 John 3:1-7. How does your identity as a child of God empower you to deeds of love in your daily life?
Read Luke 24:36b-48. What story of the risen Christ do you have to share with others? How will you share your story?
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