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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Today’s Reading | Acts 9:32–43

Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

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.” 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. 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. (NRSV)


One Sunday afternoon, my husband and I strolled through Lincoln Park Zoo. As we were concluding our walk, heading to our car, a boy about nine years old urgently called to us, “Excuse me—do you know where the white barn is?” The barn was far away. We were about to give directions when we saw that big tears were rolling down his cheeks. Immediately I said, “I’ll walk you there. You’ll be alright.” The barn was the last place he had seen his family. I didn’t think they would still be there an hour later, but there we headed. As we finally neared the barn, Akim recognized his family’s vehicle and said he would just stay there and wait. I headed to the barn myself. No family, but I found a zookeeper who called the center for lost people. At last Akim’s father knew where to find his son. Back at the vehicle, Akim and I soon heard it begin to beep, and then the ignition started remotely. What comforting sounds! Only then did I feel free to take my leave of this boy whom I had never met but who suddenly mattered to me a great deal.

Peter went to Tabitha upon request without delay. During the bombing in Boston, many people rushed to aid others. Akim’s tears moved me. Now I understand why people shrug off praise for good deeds: our hearts are so touched that we naturally want to help our fellow human beings. God has created us that way. Violent atrocities stun us because they go against our humanity. God has embedded compassion within us to connect in community.


Thank you, God, for creating us to need one another and giving us the desire and capacity to respond to one another in love. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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