The word of God continued to advance and gain adherents. Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark. Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them.
Today is Wednesday the 15 May in the fourth week of Easter.
Salt of the Sound sing, ‘Dwell among us’. Where can you see God dwelling around you as you enter into prayer now?
Today’s reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.
The reading today has a great sense of growth and energy – people being sent around the Mediterranean to proclaim the word of God and speak of Jesus – and with passion. That word is rather overused today – passionate about customer service, passionate about design, passionate about computer security – Paul, Barnabas and John were genuinely passionate about Jesus Christ and the message of eternal life. When, in the last days or weeks, have you noticed yourself sharing something with that kind of passion? What do you speak enthusiastically about? Where do your passions lie?
What’s also noticeable about this reading is that few enough people are involved for each one of them to be named: Barnabas, Saul, John, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen. If you were writing a report like this about the spread of the Gospel in your own town or neighbourhood or workplace, who are the people whose names you’d be including?
As this reading, this progress report, is read again, notice how personal it is – how the gospel is spread here not on a huge scale by mass communication, but by a series of personal encounters, and by a few enthusiastic and committed individuals.
How do you respond to this reading? What does it tell you about the spread of the Gospel in the world you live in, and your part in it? If you want to ask God, perhaps, for energy, or enthusiasm, or wisdom or discernment – whatever it is – bring that desire before him now.