Write Me into Your Book
The First Reading – Acts 3.12-19
“12 And when Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why are you surprised by this? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
“13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus. You handed Him over and rejected Him before Pilate, even though he had decided to release Him.
“14 You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.
“15 You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead, and we are witnesses of the fact.
“16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know has been made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given him this complete healing in your presence.
“17 And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.
“18 But in this way God has fulfilled what He foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer.
“19 Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away…”
Risking Life and Limb
Imagine having a love of snakes; deadly, poisonous snakes. This man used all his holiday time to visit faraway countries to see these snakes in the wild. One year, he decided to visit Canada, where there are many venomous snakes. Somebody told him of a small island in a river estuary where there was a very rare one. With a hire car and a canoe on the roof rack he set out, paddling his boat into the wide river; beaching it on the sandy shore of the island. It wasn’t long before he discovered this incredible snake. Taking a stick, he trapped it and then reached down for it. Sadly, somehow, it broke free, reared up and sank it’s fangs into his hand. He shook it off, realising he had only about one hour to live. He ran back to the canoe. Already a numbness was creeping into his arm. He pulled himself into the car, with weakness now filling both arms and legs. He managed to drive a few miles to a cottage he remembered passing. He literally fell from the car and rolled towards the door; using his final strength to throw his body at the door. Amazingly, a helicopter was called and within the hour, the antidote was given. It was the will to live that had spurred him on.
There is a fundamental drive, in every one of us – to live; to pursue and to discover authentic life; to locate meaning and purpose, to sense that our life is worth living.
The Author of Life
In our reading, Peter had prayed for a severely disabled man and he had been healed. The crowd was making Peter out to be a Holy Man, a Wonder Worker. He redirects them to the resurrection power of Jesus, and then uses a new title for the Lord – the Author of Life (in the Original Greek: ho Arkégos tés Zoës Peter declares that Jesus is the origin and source of the very life principle of the whole universe!. Greek philosophers used the word Arkégos as the ultimate cause of the universe. That’s why this man is now whole. In this Peter makes two assertions:
- The Lord longs to be that ever flowing source of authentic life for you.
- The Lord of life is able to neutralize and eradicate all the damaged and counterfeit versions of life that have ruled over your existence.
Gamebooks – Becoming your own Author
I can remember, at the beginning of my teaching career, the arrival of a new kind of book in the school library. It was a story where, when the reader arrived at the end of a chapter, there was a choice. The reader could choose what happened next. Your choice took you to a new page. Later on, you could make another decision to determine the direction of the tale….and so on. I suppose this reflects the human quest. If the right opportunities came along, and we could make the perfect choice at the right time, we could, theoretically, discover a life of bliss.
The philosopher Jean Paul Sartre would say we have to write the book. He says that life is like finding yourself on a theatre stage but there is NO SCRIPT – you have to improvise or invent your part, your life, as you go along.
Jesus has Written the Best Book of all
When Peter says Jesus is the Author, there is also a literal truth in this. In Greek, Arkégos can literally mean the author of a story! He has written your book. It’s the most exciting book, the most fulfilling tale ever written. But, you have a choice. The Lord invites; He never coerces or forces our decision. Here, Peter encourages us with one simple word – repent – not say you’re sorry, but turn away from the direction you’re going. Jump out of the pages you have concocted, and let Jesus take over!
Jesus, the Author of the best life, I know I’ve got it wrong. I turn from my own efforts. Write me into your story. Amen.