As I previewed that passage, I wondered what thoughts and ideas of themes would emerge. You have noticed, have you not beloved reader, that I like to have a theme for the week. What came to me was what Paul said about the Lord’s Supper or Communion. “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you . . .” (I Corinthians 11:23a) It was Paul who first said it in this way, but the truth is that Jesus handed on to his disciples a good many things. And the telling of them is not just in the gospels; nor what Paul relates to his readers. What was received and passed on is the ability to heal through divine and miraculous ways. I am not gifted in that way – physical healing – but I am gifted in emotional healing. And while not as dramatic, I feel blessed and honored by the Divine to be able to accomplish that. The writer of Acts tells about Peter’s ability and an instance where it was pretty dramatic.
“Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” (Acts 9:36 – 38)
This story is also reminiscent of Jesus’ healing Lazarus. Notice that there is a gap in time between Tabitha/Dorcas’ death and Peter arriving.
“So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.” (Verses 39 – 41)
I have to make mention of the widows, faithful women who in there later years dedicated themselves to ministering to others. Tenderhearted, they held Dorcas in tender regard. Maybe she (and I think this is so) was a widow herself.
“This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.” (Verses 42 – 42)
What has been passed on to you, beloved reader? How do you carry on the ministry of Jesus the Christ? And who are those around you that also minister? Faith circles and faith traditions depend on the work that is done in those groups. However, you do not have to be part of such a circle and group to carry out ministry. Dorcas had her group of widows. Peter had those had grown to know during his mission journeys. Paul also was well know in many towns and cities. What is common to all is that they passed on what they learned from Jesus and the Holy Presence. We too, in our modern world, are given skills, gifts, insights and abilities that we are obligated to pass on. In fact that reminds me of a parable that Jesus told his disciples and the crowds who there there.
May you, beloved reader, offer what the Divine has given to you; and may others give to you what they been blessed with as well. Shalom & Selah!