Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
~ Acts 2:43
I really love the book of Acts. As we began this next series in our adult education at Bethany, I’ve been excited as we’ve gotten prepared to dive into this text together in our Sunday morning class time.
But I think it’s important before we get too far, to really recognize that these accounts of the Holy Spirit, these experiences of the early church, these lives that are shared with us in Acts aren’t the only ones. These accounts are the only ways that the Holy Spirit acts, these experiences aren’t a manual for being church, and our lives too can become part of this story.
Sometimes people might read Acts and think of it like a handbook: How to Church 101 – Wonders and Signs.
If we look at Acts as a “how to” book, we might read the text above from Acts 2:43 and think – well wait, what if we’re not seeing many “wonders and signs”? Sure there are people who experienced miracles of healing and we’ve heard their story, but to see it happen in worship? Of course we pray for reconciliation and peace, and yes God answers our prayers, but are we in awe during that time? No one in my sanctuary is speaking in tongues with fire on top of their head (thank God really). Are we doing it wrong?
What if wonders and signs don’t look the same for us as they do in Acts?
What if we find awe in the wonder of breaking bread together – sharing together the body and blood of Christ?
We can find awe in the sign of hope we see in our kids reading Scripture during worship and share in their excitement together.
During the prayers, what if we felt a sense of awe in the quiet moments as we lift up our sisters, brothers, worries, and hopes to God?
Could awe come upon us while we sit across the table from another person during coffee hour? Listening to their story and experiences?
And hey, maybe we can even find awe in studying scripture together, in learning together, in the Word of God coming to life as we dive in to the lives of the early church!
My hope is that awe will come upon all of us, not just because of the signs and wonders from the book of Acts, but because of the signs and wonders of God’s work in our lives and in our community together.
What are some ways you’ve heard of Acts being used as a handbook? How might we understand signs and wonders in our world today? What are some experiences you’ve had of feeling “awe” because of God working in your church? In your life?