Thought for the Day: What ‘wonders and signs’ does a person need to do to get executed? In an initial reading of Acts 6 and 7, it appears that Stephen was stoned to death because he took care of the most vulnerable. It doesn’t sound like an offense worthy of the death penalty. Even if there were those who didn’t like Stephen’s acts of compassion toward the widows and orphans, you would think they could tolerate such acts. The word translated as ‘wonders’ in this passage comes from the Greek word, Semaino, which means to make known. For Stephen, he was making grace and deeds of power known not simply to those in need but to the systems and structures that allowed for people to be in need. Let me suggest that Stephen was not about the work of charity, which rarely ruffles feathers, but was in fact making God’s reign known in ways that confronted the institutional and political structures that ignored the most vulnerable. In today’s culture, it probably won’t get you killed, but it will get you demonized. If that’s happened to you, at least you are in good company.
Prayer: O Triune God – Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer – I praise your name, and in doing so, commit myself to the work of changing this world for the better. Amen.
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