In the midst of a complicated and troubled world it may seem impossible to make a difference, and yet, the wish of a little Israelite girl says otherwise. The spirit of the young Israelite girl and her larger cadre of enslave servants to Naaman live on today in the resourceful actions and tireless work of so many influential youth in our world, those whose passion and will for change persist.
Jezebel embraces her gods just as Elijah does. When the prophets of her gods are mocked and killed in a most disrespectful way, Jezebel is angered. In the face of death, she remains fearless. Her fearlessness combined with her reverence to her gods in a foreign land makes her an example for contemporary women.
A Pentecostal revival of justice would bear all of the hallmarks of Luke’s story. In quick order the Spirit-driven church of Acts established a community where nobody was lacking. A revival today could bring that same ecstatic joy and establish a community oriented toward justice.
Lydia does not need a man or any other figure of authority to speak for her or to dictate her life. She is her own agent and even Luke-Acts’ Paul has to respect that. She cares for her own, commits to seeking justice, and makes her own choices.
Jesus’ claim to be the good shepherd is much more than a comforting metaphor. It is a claim to kingship and a clarion call to surrender our wills and follow him to green pastures. His kingship subverts hierarchies. He models followership for us and ushers us into wide-open spaces where we can flourish in his upside-down kingdom.
It is, as we read throughout Acts, about how this epistemological truth has moral and ethical implications, disrupting the naturalized ways in how we relate to each other as consequences of history, religion, or culture. We do not only see Jesus where we expect him, but also in those who are oppressed, who we oppress, and oppose.
As apostles of Jesus, in the face of hatred and violence, Christians are called to embody a culture of healing and transformation. Being witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ is an existential commitment to pursue justice and practice love.
Accompaniment in fear, in suffering, in trauma: that seems to me to be an appropriate call for Christians over the past three Easters. We are still sitting in a messy, middle space – enduring in grief, and hoping for a new day, a new creation.