As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 (NRSV)
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Remarkable isn’t it? The church’s historical origin was a prayer group of 120 believers which included the eleven remaining apostles, the brothers of Jesus, Mary the mother of Jesus, and certain other women. Their first order of business was to replace Judas, thereby restoring the leadership to its full potential. Interestingly, the number 120 equals the number of men required to form a synagogue and council in a community. In a barrier-breaking move, the church’s original 120 included a number of women.
Luke emphasizes a leadership based on qualifications and divine choice. Leadership is not an optional matter for the community. By their witness and example, leaders should link the church to its origin and mission. Perhaps we have strayed from our original mission, which has resulted in criticism that we are hypocritical, narrow minded, too political, insensitive to others, and judgmental. No wonder our secular society is losing its respect for the church! Instead of lamenting our diminishing numbers, wishing for the “good old days,” and blaming everyone but ourselves, we should by witness and examples link ourselves to the church’s original mission.
Lord, we pray for leadership that will guide the church back into the paths of its original mission. We ask you for the grace to become better witnesses and examples of the gospel’s good news. Amen.
Go with God.