The Contemplative Companion for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.  – Acts 14. 19 – 20

The Book of Acts is really the Book of the Continuing Acts of Christ by the Power of the Spirit. Much of the book is a dramatic, exciting travelogue, filled with hidden accounts of God’s power and grace – such as the one in this passage noted above.

In this passage, we’re left with the sneaky suspicion – did Paul die and was he raised from the dead by prayer? The text leaves it to our imagination. It’s as if he was good as dead. But when the disciples gathered around him – perhaps a gesture of prayer – he was revived, at the least. And perhaps resurrected at best!

The subtly is there, and it is an explicit reminder that some extraordinary spiritual grace was let loose after the Ascension of Jesus. A unique dynamic was animating, inspiring and empowering these people of the Way. They were Experiencing the divine life of Christ in them – not just believing in it or thinking about it.

Our life today is no less in need of such divine power and grace. There is a great deal of stress and anxiety and busyness as a function of our modern life. There are many of us living closely together. Many of us driving fast on the highways together. Many of us on this planet all needing food, water and a quality life. We’ can feel a sense of being maxed out, stressed out, burnt out, shopped out, entertained out, traveled out, politicized out, traveled out.

Sometimes life feels like we’ve been left for dead. That’s the exact moment we need our spiritual community and friends to encircle us and pray for us and the Spirit of God to empower us and bring us “back” to life.

We can also find this re-connection to the Power of the Spirit as we consent in the silence and stillness for thirty minutes of meditative prayer. Such is a the circle of silence that the Spirit can revive us there, beyond words, and raise us to a new way of life. The silent and still circle can gather around us and help and heal us. The question is are we willing? Or, would we rather keep traveling so fast we forget ourselves completely?

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