Nothing Can Harm You

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
May 9, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the stone-throwers finally get to Paul, but their acted-out fear is ineffective:

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds. 
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city. 
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

Acts 14:19-20

Paul is amazingly resilient. He just got the stuffing beaten out of him to the point of appearing DOA, but he departs on a preaching pilgrimage the very next day! So what’s the story?

I think it is unlikely that Paul just “got up and entered the city'” after the vicious assault upon him.

The supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit permeated that little Lycaonian alleyway. Note the “disciples gathered around him“. Imagine a reiki-like power eminating from these ardent believers. Visualize that power drawing Paul back to his full self in the Name of Jesus Christ.

We believers today are not unlike those gathered disciples. I’ll bet every one of us, after some devasting blow to our spirit, has had our heart put back by someone who loved and believed in us.

And I hope that every one of us has been that person who gathers with the fallen, failed, and frustrated to lift and remind them of Love’s Promise to those who believe.

That’s the kind of community Jesus wants us to be, drawing our strength for it from his awesome promise in today’s Gospel:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’

John 14:27-28

Jesus faced a very dismal future as he finished these consoling words at the Last Supper. Judas had already gone out to pursue his dark agenda. Jesus knew what would come next:

And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

John 14:29-31

We will face our own Gethsemane’s as we try to live and to share Gospel Truth. Sometimes, our lights will dim from both internal and external shadows. But Jesus has anointed us with his profound assurance that God, Creator-Redeemer-Spirit, hovers over us in eternal rekindling.

Poetry: The Peace of Wild Things – Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Music: My Peace I Give Unto You

One thought on “Nothing Can Harm You

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