28 Weeks Acts Devotion Week 14
WEEK 14 - ACTS 14 - November 12, 2018
Written by Sara Martin, Global Young People’s Convocation 2018, Laity, Board of Director, General Board of Church and Society
The scariest realization of young adulthood is the moment you realize adults do not have all the answers. After the 2016 General Conference, I remember being stunned when adults in my life did not have the answers to my questions. I now suspect that no one knows what will happen in February or what the denomination might look after we gather.
When we read the Book of Acts, it does not seem like Paul and Barnabas have all the answers either. Paul and Barnabas took time for careful discernment as they address conflict in the early church. As we read chapter 14, we discover the entire crowd is caught up in conflict, divided against their brothers and sisters. The environment grew tense, uncomfortable, and anxiety driven. These attributes are not conducive to the Holy Spirit, friends. The crowd even ran Paul and Barnabas out of town! This is not the way God’s people are called to react amidst conflict.
Like the crowd, our denomination has become deeply polarized. Something dangerous happens when we dehumanize one another. We get too caught up in being right or wrong. When we are not willing to listen to what each other has to say, we all lose. We must be willing to hear other voices even when we disagree with them.
This summer I attended the Global Young People’s Convocation in Johannesburg, South Africa. I spent the week worshiping, learning, and dialoguing with other young United Methodists from across the globe. I can’t help but lift the faithful witness of our young people. They modeled a spirit of unity and grace beyond the wisdom of their years.
In the face of disagreement and difficult conversations, our young people came to the table willing to engage various points of view. The young people continue to step out in faith and believe in a vibrant future for the denomination, one built upon unity and diversity (a central theme of the book of Acts).
During my time in South Africa, I heard of a beautiful saying that I continue to carry with me, “I am because we are.” In other words, humans are not solitary creatures. We cannot exist in isolation. Friends, we depend on one another for commonality and connectivity. Sometimes human communities deal with conflict and must wrestle to find a resolution.
Suggested reading schedule
• Monday - Acts 14:1-4
• Tuesday - Acts 14:5-7
• Wednesday - Acts 14:8-10
• Thursday - Acts 14:11-20
• Friday - Acts 14:21-23
• Saturday - Acts 14:24-26
• Sunday - Acts 14:27-28
Reflection question: After reading Acts 14:1-28, did anything stick out to you? Did anything surprise you about this scripture passage? If so, what surprised you about Acts 14:1-28 and why?
Prayer focus: Pray for the young people of the United Methodist Church.
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