Today's Lectionary Text
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
We note that the people of Samaria had an important encounter with God. They accepted the Gospel and were baptized. Then Peter and John were sent to be a part of a further experience of God, receiving the Holy Spirit in a powerful way.
I can relate to this since I too have had varied experiences of God throughout my life. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church religiously. When I was young, I responded to an altar call in Sunday School. After drifting as a teenager, in college I rediscovered my faith in a powerful way. My experiences with God involved others who loved me, taught me and remained connected with me.
God uses human connection as part of further experiencing God. God uses us to help others and uses others to help us experience God more and more. Our experience of God is not static. God is alive and our relationship with God is a living relationship. It’s a living relationship which involves our connection with God, and very importantly our connection with one another.
It’s through this ongoing, living connection with God and with one another that we continue to receive “grace upon grace”. We experience God in new and powerful ways. Even Jesus experienced the Divine in a new way when he was baptized by John the Baptist. (See Luke 3:15-17,21-22.)
I think this is an important point for reflection and action. It is through connection with God and one another that we experience God more fully throughout our lives. So, how alive is our connection with God and one another? How open are we to experiencing a deeper and more connected relationship with God and one another? How can we foster a living and open connection with God and one another?
-Pastor A.G. Turner
Ewing UM-PC(USA), Orchard UMC, Page UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Prayer for Reflection
God of infinite grace fill us anew with your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to deeper connections with you and others. Renew our desire to experience you more completely and to serve others more fully, that we and those around us may experience a living and vital relationship with you; through Jesus who offers us new life. Amen.
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