A long chain
Acts 10: 34-43 (NRSVA)
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’
What did the Gospel sound like as it began to spread? When it crossed borders, cultures and languages? What does it sound like now?
In Aramaic, in Greek, in Hebrew, in Latin, in German, in English, in Scots. In phrases and aphorisms, in stories and poetry, in songs and plays. In transit, in secret basements, in royal courts, in wild places.
With confidence, with reservations, with wonder, with mystery, with confusion, with inspiration. Spoken by men and women, by children and youth, by those of high status and low and all in-between.
With food, with laughter, with tears, with pictures — assembled painstakingly in gold leaf or quickly in the dust. On the highest authority, or under the cover of darkness. In warm dry places, and cold wet places, high and low, under the shade of a tree or at the heart of an empire.
Links in a chain from long ago to your screen now.
You make chains,
not to bind us but to set us free —
long chains of people,
of families and friends and colleagues
sharing the words that change lives
over and over again
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