Daily Worship

Re: Convene

Peter Neilson May 22, 2021 0 3
Image credit: Unsplash
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Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 (NIVUK)

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, ‘Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.’


21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’

23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.


Today the Church of Scotland reconvenes in General Assembly, albeit online rather than in person. Proposals will be made. Votes will be taken. Prayers will be said. People will be appointed to significant roles. We pray that God will guide them in all they consider and decide.

Back in the days of the first post-resurrection church, 120 strong, proposals were made, votes taken, prayers said, and a new appointment made to take the place of Judas Iscariot. We hear nothing of Joseph Barsabbas or Matthias before the election, and nothing after. What we do know is that both had been around Jesus from the time of his baptism up till his Ascension. Both were witnesses of the resurrection. That’s quite a pedigree for two unknowns.

No doubt they did go on to bear witness to the Risen Christ anonymously – like most of the people who will convene for the General Assembly and return to their communities unheralded.

But the story invites us to hold the space open for God to do something unexpected. Matthias made up the numbers to keep things tidy, but God was about to break the mould of this Jewish-bound group. It would take a couple of unknown Greeks called Stephen and Philip, one to challenge the Temple system and the other to be evicted from Jerusalem in cross-cultural mission to Samaria and Ethiopia. And then comes Saul, the persecuting Pharisee turned apostle to the Gentiles.

General Assembly, hold that space open. We cannot second-guess what God will do.




God of the unexpected,

We are waiting,





We do not want to miss Your Coming. AMEN