SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020

Acts 9:23-31

Saul Escapes from the Jews
After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem
When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Discussion

by R. Fergus Moir, Clergy Stuff

Newcomers to our faith communities can be scary. We like things the way they are. They’re comfortable. We know what we think and believe, and when new people come seeking God, our instinct is to assimilate them into our culture as quickly as possible. We don’t want to listen to their questions or doubts, accommodate their ideas, or, well, change. But Jessicah Duckworth, in her book Wide Welcome: How the Unsettling Presence of Newcomers Can Save the Church, argues that embracing the questions, doubts, and ideas of newcomers to our faith communities are what renews and revitalizes them, pushing us out of our comfort zone to see where God is doing a new thing. It’s critical to have our beliefs, practices, and traditions regularly challenged to see where they might no longer be life-giving, or contributing to being God’s presence in the world.

How can I welcome the questions, doubts and ideas of others to strengthen my own faith?