One day at three o'clock in the afternoon, Peter and John were on their way into the Temple for prayer meeting. At the same time there was a man crippled from birth being carried up. Every day he was set down at the Temple gate, the one named Beautiful, to beg from those going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the Temple, he asked for a handout. Peter, with John at his side, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Look here." He looked up, expecting to get something from them.
Peter said, "I don't have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" He grabbed him by the right hand and pulled him up. In an instant his feet and ankles became firm. He jumped to his feet and walked.
The man went into the Temple with them, walking back and forth, dancing and praising God. Everybody there saw him walking around and praising God. They recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Temple's Gate Beautiful and rubbed their eyes, astonished, scarcely believing what they were seeing.
Here we are in the midst of Easter Week. The resurrection has happened. For the Christian, everything has changed. Death no longer has the final word. Life has won.
So, now what?
What does it look like to live Life?
Not get by.
Not make it to the weekend.
Not simply exist.
How do we truly live Life?
A couple things jump out to me in the story about Peter and John. First, they were on their way to pray in community. Their lives were marked by a rhythm of being in community and that community was deeper than simply getting together. They met to pray and do life deeply with one another.
Second, these two men were present in the moment. Surely they were in the midst of conversation and possibly thinking about the prayer meeting and what they were going to talk about. There were probably community issues that they were wrestling with. Who knows, but in the midst of the walking, talking, and the crowds on the way to the Temple they were present. Peter and John saw the man begging. They didn’t ignore him nor were they apathetic to him, the saw him.
Finally, they dealt with the man’s real problem and didn’t simply meet a felt need. It would have been easy to say, “I don’t have any money,” and keep ‘er moving. If they had a few bucks they could have tossed the money to him and kept moving. But, instead they met the real need of the man. He didn’t have money because he couldn’t work and he couldn’t work because his legs didn’t work. So, they dealt with the deeper issue. By dealing with the deeper issue they restored dignity to the man.
How do we live Life? We practice a rhythm of being in spiritual community with others, some call this “communitas.” We practice being present in the moment where we are. This is the practice of seeing people around us. Finally, we practice meeting real needs not simply felt needs. Sometimes we will need to meet a felt need to create space to meet with a real need, but the goal is to move beyond the immediate to the real.
In all these things we are engaging ourselves in a restoration and reconciliation of the world.