Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Uncircumcised in Heart and Ears

By Melanie Rigney

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.” (Acts 7:51-53)

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Psalm 31:6a)

“For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)

Lord, guide my words. Help me to admonish with not only conviction but with love. Come, Holy Spirit.

It was not an easy time for Stephen.

He stood before the Sanhedrin, falsely accused. He knew this was not likely to end well in an earthly way. And yet, he did not waver. Not only did he orate on the people’s history with the Lord, he issued his own accusation, an accusation of truth and faith. History is repeating itself, he in essence said. History is repeating itself right now.

And so he was stoned to death, the first of disciples to die for his faith.
Stephen’s words made people angry and uncomfortable. They would make people angry and uncomfortable today; who wants to be called a betrayer or murder of the righteous? And yet, it’s all too easy for us to submerge our responsibility to call out with love and forthrightness those who ignore the Lord today in their words and actions. It’s easy to get along to go along rather than to speak up for our faith. May we emulate Stephen… and observe the Law as we have received it. It’s costly to do this on earth; it’s costlier still not to do it.


Have a difficult conversation that you have been avoiding.

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