Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9 A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. 12 Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.
Two things strike me about this story. First, I’m glad I’m not the only one who can put people to sleep while speaking. 🙂 Second is the perceived importance of Paul’s teaching and direction that people were willing to stay up all night so as not to miss anything. In fact, I’m guessing the young man was sitting in the window because the room was so packed there was nowhere else to sit!
There is an urgency about this story – focused around the mission they shared in the gospel – that gets my attention. The last couple of days I’ve gathered online with Lutheran church leaders from our synod (region) to discuss the goings-on in this part of the world and the challenges/opportunities before us. These gatherings can be less than exciting, but this meeting was different. There was a palpable sense of urgency in our conversation. We know that our world is changing rapidly – which is nothing new – and the time for action is now.
What does it look like for the church to faithfully proclaim the gospel in this emerging world? Where do we retain practices of the past? Where do try new practices reflecting our new reality? Where do we need to let go of practices that no longer serve our mission? How do we know the difference?
Lord Jesus you are the Shepherd and we are the sheep of your fold. We don’t know the way forward. Left to ourselves we will likely go astray. Give us grace to watch for your leading and the faithfulness to follow. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.