Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Acts 20:7-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, ‘Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.’ Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.
“It is right to give our thanks and praise!” This is the first thing I thought about when reading this passage to write this devotion. A common phrase within the Eucharist liturgy is “It is right to give our thanks and praise”. Of course, Eucharist means “thanksgiving”, so in our celebration of the Holy Supper, we are inherently giving God thanks. Therefore, in today’s reading, we notice that they have gathered on the first day of the week to break bread. Paul gets a little long-winded and Eutychus falls asleep and fell out of a window three floors below.
This isn’t an initial ‘thanks and praise’ story. Yet, what is fascinating about the Eucharist is that many liturgies draw on God’s acts of compassion for God’s children through various circumstances. While the children of Israel were hungry, God fed them with manna from Heaven. When the multitudes followed Jesus, hungry as a people gathered – Jesus broke bread and fed the multitudes. And after Jesus’ death and resurrection, he appeared to the disciples, broke bread and shared a meal with them. In today’s narrative, we see again God’s compassion in the resurrection of Eutychus. The people gathered were not a ‘little’ comforted but were most likely proclaiming: “It is right to give our thanks and praise!” For Cumberland Presbyterians, the Holy Meal, is a means of grace and growth. We also believe it is a perpetual reminder of Christ’s continuing presence among us. I’m certain that Paul, and those gathered were aware of Christ’s continuing presence. May we always be aware of Christ’s presence among us, even and especially in the times of uncertainty. Who knows, we may just walk away more than a ‘little’ comforted.
God of grace and continuing presence, lead us to an awareness of You and Your work in our midst. May we be a people who proclaim: “It is right to give our thanks and praise!” Amen.
Go with God!