SALT at home
Our high school bible study is going on the road, or at least on your computer. Each week we’ll be posting a new at-home study. These can be done solo, or as a group with your family and friends. If you would like to join the high school group that meets weekly, please email Heather.
Get ready by finding a place that you are comfortable, grab your bible and journal if you are doing this study alone and spend some time with God.
Questions for Discussion or Journaling
Recently we have had to change most of our usual patterns. Students are doing school work on-line, parents are working from home, “going” to church is moving into the living room, this is a few.
- What other things have had to change for you? Either in location or the way you do them.
- What has been good about these changes, what has been a challenge?
“In the time of COVID-19…” Is how we will start a lot of the stories that we share in the future. Not only have we had to adjust the HOW we are doing things but also the WHERE we do them. How we hang out with people that do not live in the same house. Virtual fundraises funds to support COVID research and care that is needed. Churches are hosting on-line worship, for many this is a new challenge. Pastors are recording sermons at home or “on-location” and AV teams are editing the messages into the worship service. Schools have moved to an on-line format, some students find this very easy to work with, others lack the technology at home to support virtual learning. Parents are the teachers for younger students. Some are having fun with this, while others are struggling to play a new role as teachers while still maintaining the full list of to-do’s they already had. Grocery shopping is done online much more than it was before COVID. Makeshift field hospitals are in parking lots and ships docked in New York City. A lot of changes in a short amount of time, and still a lot is the same. We know that learning is happening. Worship is going strong. Health care is being received. God’s love is being shared.
Today our reading is from Acts 3:1-10
In this reading, we read about a beggar outside of the Temple. We know very little about him, what we do know is:
- He was handicapped from birth.
- He relied on others to carry him to the temple.
- He was there daily.
- He is outside of the temple, not going in, not worshiping.
- He was seeking charity at the temple door.
There could be any number of reasons that he was not going in. Maybe he wasn’t a believer or possibly he wasn’t allowed in. We are also lead to believe that he was expecting others to provide for him, financially provide that is. When he saw Peter and John, he was asking for money. They demonstrated something very different than what was expected. They looked at him, they saw him, made eye contact and asked that he look upon them. When we pass others in need, we often don’t see them, or their needs, because we are so focused on ourselves, or maybe it is uneasy and awkward for us to look upon those in need. Peter, doing the work of Jesus, insists that the beggar looks at them. What were they looking for? Were they trying to gauge his spirt or sincerity? Maybe they were looking for a heavy heart that was ready for a life-changing gift? Maybe they simply wanted to acknowledge each other in their shared humanity. Certainly, he did not expect to be healed. He was looking for money to provide for his needs and was given something much greater. He was given the ability to walk again and thus received new life, through the power of Jesus Christ. At this moment, the disciples were the hands and feet of God, seeking God’s action and courageously sharing his love outside of the temple. In a celebratory moment, the beggar lept up, cheerfully praised God, and walked into the Temple, for the first time in his life.
Here we have someone with a major health issue in a public space. Sitting outside of the Temple gate was not the typical spot for health care to be received or given, but this is the place where God’s power and grace were seen. Today, we see that care is given and received in different spaces and in different ways than we typically expect, and God’s power and grace are experienced. In this story, we see the resurrection of Jesus in God’s power defeating death. That life will overcome death. That the lame will walk. Not for the disciples, and not for us today, does a magic wand sweep over us to make life easy and all of our problems disappear. With the power of God’s love, our lives are transformed.
Today, our world feels upside down and turned on its side. This is not as we expect. Like the beggar in this story, we are surprised and celebrate God’s grace and mercy. We see God’s love in food delivery and grocery store employees. We experience God’s generosity in the financial giving that is happening. We feel God’s peace and hope in the reassurance of our health care workers. We encounter God’s joy in families spending time and meals together. We share God’s love with others in a holy reassurance of the living God who cares for us. In this time of COVID-19, is where we see the power of God’s love overcoming the disruption that COVID is causing.
God was at work at the temple and continues to work today. Calling us into the work of sharing his love with the world. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and this work happens in our relationships with others every day. This doesn’t need to be at the church, it happens on our computers, on the phone, standing 6’ apart in the stores, it happens everywhere. We are called to tell the story of Jesus and show his love in our actions. In this story, it is God’s work and will that is being done, but it is the disciples working as a part of God’s action. This not only a story of healing, but of John and Peter who SAW a man in need, STOPPED to speak with him, and HELPED in a way that that only God’s love can, by healing from the inside out. After he was healed, he celebrated and cheered. He went in with the others.
- Have you ever experienced God in an unexpected way? How did it change your life?
- Who do you know that is sitting “on the outside” that may need help? How can you share God’s love with them right now, inviting them into a relationship with God?
- Take a long walk. Think about what has happened recently. What surprising sights or thoughts or strangers open your eyes to something new?
- Write an op-ed about a person who you have learned from or has inspired you. Send it to them with a note of appreciation and thanks.
- Reach out and reconnect with someone important from whom you have drifted away from.
Oh Lord, inspire us in ways that we can be your hands and feet. Help us see and care for one another. Amen