Causing a Riot or Reason to Celebrate?

The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, all the world knows that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis… calm down and don’t do anything rash… we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today.”

– Acts 19:35-41

Paul’s preaching in Ephesus caused a great deal of commotion.  People were coming to faith in such great numbers that the idol industry was struggling.  The idol makers were angry that this conversion to Christ was causing people to stop buying their wares.  So they started a riot!  Whether these conversions were worth rioting or celebrating is a matter of perspective.

How do we see the situations in our lives?  Are they worth fighting over and getting angry about… or are they reasons to celebrate something different, something new, something surprising?  Even through conflict and struggle, something new and good can be birthed.  May we have eyes to see the opportunity rather than the obstacle.  May we be open to what God is changing in ourselves and in our community.  May we celebrate the work of God in our midst!

Holy God, we come together to worship, a people who would like to think that we love you with all our hearts and souls, with all our might, but there are so many other things in our lives that clamor for our attention that we often relegate you to Sundays and times when we want you to rescue us.  Most of us really do want you to be the one in whom we live and move and have our being. We really do want to hear your voice above all of the other voices in our lives. But we get bogged down in our daily routine. We forget who we are. We forget who you are.  We forget what the church is supposed to be.

So here we are, standing before you today, with our human foibles and our short attention spans, asking that you would make yourself known to us, that you would help us to recognize the presence of the Holy, that you would continue to challenge us, inspire us, and make us into the people you want us to be.  Amen.

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