When I was working on my sermon this week, I suddenly recalled the passage in Acts 5 where the people took their sick relatives and friends out to the street, setting them up on cots and mats so that Peter's shadow might fall on them as he passed by.
It's an amazing image, indicating that the power of the Holy Spirit was so strong, Peter simply reeked of it, with benefits coming to people of whom he barely was even aware.
Too often I have observed church folks read the scriptures with the assumption they were coming from a position of weakness, passivity, or even helplessness. The things Jesus said and did always were seen as bringing them healing or comfort or a sense of peace.
Frankly, I think it's different more often than not, and that the New Testament should be seen from another perspective. Christians should read it with an eye toward discovering their identity, and learning what it means to take up the ministry of Jesus, with the blessings going to others. In other words, we see what Jesus did, and do that ourselves. Matthew 10 gives us this reality check.
People of faith are seen by Jesus, I believe, not as pitiful and child-like, but rather as redeemed souls set free from anything and everything that would hold us back from embracing the love of God and finding ways to express and share that love with others. People of faith are seen by Jesus, I believe, as those who want to live in an everlasting relationship with the Creator who wills life, and who blesses humanity with great abundance.
People of faith know the joy and certainty that no matter what happens, what we face, what we are called to endure, the last word belongs to God and that word is Life! We find that word, we find that Life in the light of Christ, our Risen Savior. And we shine that light in the direction of other people we meet each and every day, wherever we go.
Just as Peter's very presence brought blessing and healing in many ways to folks in need, people of faith, followers of Jesus, direct the rays of the Light of Christ toward the lives of others.