This week we take a look at the fifth of ten footprints of the Holy Spirit as evidenced in the Book of Acts. So far we have identified the following footprints. First, we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, we are to wait upon, or pray, for the Holy Spirit. Third, the Spirit first comes upon the community before filling each one individually. And fourthly, the Holy Spirit helps us overcome language barriers.
The fifth footprint is how the Holy Spirit takes us out of hiding, timidly cowering in fear, and makes us bold to publicly proclaim the good news of God’s love shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Acts 2:14 we read, “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them…” You will note that Peter stood! But he did not stand alone. The eleven other disciples stood with him, even if at the moment Peter did the proclaiming. There was no more hiding for the disciples. They were enabled and emboldened to witness to the nations.
What will become surprisingly clear in the days ahead is that persecution will not dampen this Spirit enabled boldness. When for example Peter and John were arrested by the Jewish religious authorities in Acts chapter 4, their voices were not rendered mute when they stood on trial. The leaders themselves remarked that although Peter and John were uneducated, they nonetheless spoke with boldness.
Then when Peter and John were released by the authorities with strict orders not to speak anymore in Jesus’ name, they instantly told the leaders they had no intention of following their orders! Moreover, when Peter and John were reunited with other disciples they prayed together. And amazingly, they did not petition God to keep them from persecution and trial. Instead, they asked the Lord that he would enable them to keep on speaking the Word of God with boldness! And this is precisely what the Holy Spirit enabled them to do!
Since You Asked…
What is the significance of sharing the peace?
“The peace which enables people to live in unity and in the spirit of mutual forgiveness comes only from Christ whose word has been proclaimed. … The peace is a sign that those who participate in it open themselves to the healing and reconciling power of God’s love and offer themselves to be agents of that love in the world. … The personal exchange of the peace should be as unpatterned as possible, but its meaning and significance should be kept clear. It is not the occasion merely for conviviality. The choice of gesture, whether a handshake, holding hands, or an embrace, should be left to the persons themselves.” (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)