Archive for May 29th, 2018

Carlo Crivelli: Saint Stephan

Acts 7Discourse of Truth

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

We continue to reflect on the truth as Jesus describes it, the truth as Jesus enacts it. The following is a Favorite from November 9, 2010.

And then the high priest asked him, “Are these things so?”

If we were called to witness to the power structure; if we were asked: “Are these things so?”  What would we reply?  Some of us can imagine ourselves as brave witnesses; others of us know that we would have difficulty standing before our community to declaim the truth.

The story of power in scripture is about how it corrupts; it is also about how small and seemingly insignificant people gather courage to deliver a discourse of truth to an authority who wishes to control even the small details of lives.

Stephen takes to heart Christ’s admonition that we ought not worry about what to say or how to say it.  (Matthew 10:19)  He is so full of a light that pierces the darkness and reveals that which the power structure wishes to hide . . . that he is finally silenced with an angry stoning.

We may or may not be called to put our lives on the line in a physical way, but even so, we must be willing to speak out truth that does not coincide with or support in any way the false story woven by others – even if these others are our loved ones, our employers, or our popular heroes and heroines.

There is a fine difference between empowering and enabling others.  The official in today’s reading does not want the crowd to hear Stephen’s words of salvation . . . because then the crowd will stop paying tithes and bringing offerings.  Rather than accept responsibility for his own part in the decay and collusion, the priest questions the messenger: Are these things so?”

When we find that our discourse of truth brings howls of objection from the authority that stands above us, ready to wield the first stone . . . then we will know that we have touched a raw nerve.  Are these things so?”

And when the angry mob comes against us, may we be as ready as Stephen to say: Lord, do not hold this sin against them. 

Tomorrow, testifying to the truth. 

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen

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