The Way the Story Goes…

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…

The way the story goes…

Dominic was a Catholic Priest in Europe during the late 1100’s – early 1200’s. He had a knack for debate with different Christian sects that had a twist in their understanding of ‘who’ Christ was, and remains to be. Europe at this time was a bloody mess, and more often than nought, the Church was tangled in it. (It is hard to understand a time when the Church, coupled with government, carried the responsibility to enforce a moral code, or God’s will, by means that seemed contrary to it.) He founded a small group of teachers and preachers that felt wealth was an obstacle to reaching the lost and violence in the ‘name of God’ hurt the cause of the Kingdom, not helped it. As this small community began to grow, he went to Rome, seeking authorization for his order from the Pope. While there, the Pope gave him a tour of the treasures contained within the Vatican, and remarked complacently, “Peter can no longer say ‘I do not possess silver and gold…'” Dominic turned and looked straight at the Pope and said, “No, and neither can he say ‘rise and walk'”  (Dominic got the authorization he was seeking.)

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.    Acts 3:1-10

This is the way the story goes…Scripture records an event in the life of a lame beggar, where the glory of God explodes all over the dusty street in front of the ‘beautiful’ gate. It was the hour of prayer, people were heading towards the temple from all over the city. All of a sudden, on what was an ordinary day, the air is filled with dust, the sounds of shouts, and ‘whoops’ of joy ring out. I’m sure at that moment, anyone heading towards that particular gate of the temple, got caught in the intrusion of the Spirit. They got caught up in the whirlwind of the natural getting replaced by the super-natural. They witnessed the very heart of our faith…the willingness to give. Without God’s willingness to give, we would not exist. He created us with His very breath. I am tempted to start spelling out all of the things God has given, however, anybody who is still reading already knows them. (If you are not still reading…)  A careful examination of Scripture reveals a method of Christian living that includes giving – receiving – giving. In other words, all of the wonderful ‘stuff’ that God continues to give us is intended to pass through to others who need it as well. Now…I can some up all of those ‘gifts’ into a thing we call ‘grace’ and run down the road of a ‘grace filled’ life and speak in generalities…but I want to be really specific here. John Woody and Ryan Heneha need our help. They need us to be willing to give…whatever we have received…be that money, time, or are talents.

History has shown us many examples of a fat and lazy Church. A Church that is resting on the blood of their brethren that battled on their knees, battled on the floor of the Coliseum, battled during the Reformation…for the bricks that make up the walls of your chosen place of worship. A Church that sees the blood of Jesus as a ‘salvation device’, and not a battle call to continue the fight against darkness and evil. I am asking you to rediscover the heart of our faith…freely give, whatever it is that you have been given.  The way the story will be told later, about us, this time, these moments, I do not know. I do know this, the temple is still here, the gate is still beautiful, and the super-natural can still cause a ruckus in the natural. The families of John Woody and Ryan Heneha need us…

 

 

 

 

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