When you speak truth that flies in the face of the narrative of the powerful and in-charge, it will cost you. History is full of these stories. It’s critical for us to think deeply right now about what we’re standing for and when we take heat and are pressured, to not give in or give up, but instead watch as God’s faithfulness comes through.
In Acts chapter 8 the story is told of the first followers of Jesus who are just getting organized and starting to gain some steam. The religious elites jail them, but an angel sets them free. Instead of fleeing to safety, they go RIGHT BACK to the temple and keep teaching and speaking truth about the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and is the messiah, God himself. This time the religious elites turn up the heat and the killings start, beginning with Stephen and spreading with further jailings and killings. Now Jesus’ followers are forced to flee and are scattered.
But here’s an interesting line in which I find tons of hope: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
Whoa. Check that out. Jesus took the persecution, hatred and violence perpetrated by the powerful religious elite on the tiny minority speaking truth and used it to ignite his movement.
The scattered could have chosen to stay silent. It would have been safer. If I’m honest, that’s the most likely choice I’d make. Yet I pray, and ask:
Holy Spirit of God, fill me and help me to know deeply the truths worth speaking and fighting for. Help me whenever I am scattered by the powerful for speaking truth, to keep preaching as I’m scattered. To spread your message of the redemption of all things, of deep love, of reconciliation and of reckoning. And to trust that what you’ve done before, you are still doing.
Grace and Peace,
A healthy and united America is truly possible… and it starts with us. John Kingston draws on wisdom from history, science, faith and culture, along with his own experiences, to offer eight principles for discovering purpose, meaning and true community.
“John Kingston is a voice crying out in the wilderness. When so many Americans are afflicted by the rampant depression, anxiety, and loneliness, American Awakening is Kingston’s bold declaration of purpose, hope and life. This is the book America most needs to read in 2020.”
— Jeremy Cowart, Photographer and Founder of The Purpose Hotel