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Living in Chains

Acts 12: Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists[1]

The lesson for today is one of the stories several of us in my church are reading from the book of Acts.  The story begins with the arrest of Peter.  The early church made the established religion and government in Israel upset.  Lesson:  You probably are doing something right when you start upsetting traditional sources of authority and power:  Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk upset traditional forms of jazz music.   Now Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders are upsetting traditional ways of doing politics in America.  Children and young adults traditionally challenge old ways of doing things.  This is one of the reasons why the church I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ encourages children to participate as officers.  The church is made stronger when it encourages younger persons to participate in the sharing of ideas.

 

The irony is that Peter has upset both Christians and Jews.  Christians are upset with him because he is eating with non-Jews.  The Jewish leaders are upset with him because he believes in Jesus.  James the brother of John had been killed for his faith in Jesus.  Peter is in jail for his faith.   While in jail, Peter is visited by an angel.  Some of us are living in virtual jails.  A virtual jail is when a person is free to come and go, but imprisoned with fears, imprisoned with self-centered thoughts, imprisoned by jealousy and hate.  Even while living in a virtual jail, from time to time God will send you an angel.  Peter is not sure the angel is real or a vision.  Sometimes we miss the angel of God because we think it is something else.  Some of us are living in chains.  Peter is not only in jail, but living with chains.  Some of us are chained to old ways of living, thinking and acting.  -George Clinton sings about “Free your mind and your…will follow”.  Someone reading this needs to free their mind.  Pride and the desire for money can put a person in a virtual prison.  The Flint Water with polluted lead heavy water situation was caused by pride and money.  The city of Flint broke with the traditional Detroit, Michigan water system because of pride but also because someone thought they could make money by selling water from the polluted water system.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate liberator from the prisons of the mind.  I believe the light of the Lord is shining down from heaven on you and me today – calling us to break free from our chains

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about emotional and spiritual “chains?”
  2. How does Jesus free us spiritually and emotionally?

Prayer:

Lord, free me from by fears.  Lord, free me from selfish desires, greed, jealousy and petty thoughts.  Open the windows of heaven a bless me know when a new sense of freedom because of the salvation I have come to know in you.  Lord, I live because of the hope you have given me.  Lord, I hope because of your promise.  Lord, I love because you first loved.  Free me now and bless me with your Holy Spirit.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood IIII

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 12:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.