Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 54; 146, Esther 5:1-14, Acts 18:12-28, Luke 3:15-22
Apollos was a Jewish man who followed the teachings of Jesus. Acts tells us: “He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus.” He must have learned about Jesus apart from Paul and the other Apostles because he knew about the baptism of John, but not about baptism in the Holy Spirit. When he began teaching in Ephesus, a couple named Priscilla and Aquila (whom Paul had made disciples) pulled him aside to “explain the Way of God to him more accurately.”
This story is a wonderful model for how we Christians can support each other in growing our faith. Priscilla and Aquila did not embarrass Apollos by calling him out publicly, or set themselves up in opposition. Apollos was willing to hear them out and learned from them. They simply informed him of things he didn’t know, and the church thrived.
Let us celebrate and embrace this spirit of gentle correction and willingness to learn. Throughout our faith lives, every one of us is both an Apollos and a Priscilla, a teacher who is at the same time a student. What if, instead of treating the church as an ancient, brittle construction we inhabit solely for the purpose of preserving it, we recognized it as still being built by the Holy Spirit continuing to live and move among us? If we are continuing to work on the project together, like the members of the early church, we feel freer to hear each other’s stories and look at the project from each other’s perspectives to understand the big picture. Christ remains our foundation, but we are a team of builders united in the clamor and mess of creating something, rather than tourists traveling the approved but lifeless path to ogle the crumbling relics we aren’t allowed to touch.
The church is a living body, and living bodies grow and mature. Let’s embrace that process of growth by remaining supportive of each other despite the inevitable growing pains.
Comfort: The faith doesn’t need us to defend it…
Challenge: … it needs us to live it.
Prayer: Eternal God, may the breath of life you have granted me add life to your church here on Earth. Amen.
Discussion: Has hearing someone else’s perspective changed how you understand your faith?
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