Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara of Holy Redeemer, June 22, 2020

Pastor Barbara’s Devotion for June 22, 2020

Dear Church,

In the very first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles, right before the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost, the apostles were in a dilemma.  There were only 11 apostles left after Judas betrayed Jesus.  So they did something unexpected.  We are told that 120 believers gathered together and two people were chosen as the best candidates, either Justus or Matthias, to take Judas’ place among the apostles.  It went like this:

Photo by Guillermo Velarde on Unsplash

Then [the apostles] prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:24-26

What? They cast lots?   Rolled the dice?  They gambled on who would become the newest apostle!  How is it possible that these early Christians left it to chance to decide who would join the group?  Well, alright, they prayed that God would show them who would be God’s choice, but what a way to choose!

And yet, the apostles succeeded in doing something that seems impossible, they turned the tide of history!  The small ways Jesus started with people gathering in synagogues and on hillsides continued on with these twelve folks, in synagogues, on hillsides, on riverbanks and in house churches.  Eventually their movement spread worldwide.  However the new apostle was chosen, his contribution was blessed by God. 

So my question today is, as we stand at a new time in history, does God set certain people up to take their place in history or does God make do with whoever is made available?  Personally, I think it’s the latter.  I have always loved the saying that God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.  Right now I believe that God is calling the church to act.  And I also believe that God will, with whoever is willing to try, guide us as we take our part in turning the tide of history!  We, those who happen to be available to be chosen, will continue to be equipped to do the work of God in the world.  The work of grace, and inclusion, and advocacy, and – you name it! 

What a time to be the church!  We pray – as we roll the dice on a new generation of the Church – that you will guide us, strengthen us, empower and equip us, so that in whatever way we can, your church will continue to bless the world.

In Christ,

Pastor Barbara

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