These are exciting times in the life of the University Park Church of the Brethren! We have called a new pastor, have a strategic vision and plans, and a heart for serving our community far and wide! As exciting as it is, it’s also a little daunting. We know it won’t be easy to accomplish all that we wish to accomplish.
The Book of Acts tells us that the first days of the Christian Church were also exciting. And a bit daunting as well. As you can imagine, creating a new religious experience irritated the existing religious authorities around. It wasn’t long before Peter and John, the leaders of this first Jesus church, were arrested, held in jail overnight, and then brought before the Church Council.
When they were hauled in front of the council, scripture says that they spoke with such boldness that those gathered were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. The council, not having anything to charge them with, let them go, but with a warning: “If you keep this up you won’t get off so easily next time.”
Now, we can only imagine how daunting it must have been to face the religious establishment—who also had civil authority to jail you–to get thrown in jail overnight and threatened. Remember, this is the same religious leadership who had just colluded with the Romans to execute Jesus. But they had a message that could not keep inside, and so they prayed. Pay attention here to what they prayed for and what happened.
And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
They prayed for boldness. The valuable resource that they asked God for was boldness. This is so fascinating to me. They didn’t pray for Jesus to come back and save the day. They didn’t pray for God to change the ruling powers, or for the Council to have a change of heart, or for the money so they could move somewhere else. They prayed to God for themselves, so that they could keep being conduits for God.
As our congregation calls a permanent pastor, continues to move forward with strategic goals, and yearns to reach out to the community and the world, we too pray for boldness!