Bold – I ask, “Why not?”

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Today we’re talking about Donna‘s one-little-word, BOLD. My dictionary defines it as “1] having courage, fearless; 2]  showing or requiring courage, daring, a bold plan; 3] presuming unduly, brazen, forward.”

When I think of bold, too often that third definition comes to mind. I don’t want to have a pushy, brazen, putting-myself-forward boldness. But the boldness that is fearless and has the courage of its convictions—oh yes, bring it on!

Relating boldness to my spiritual journey, I am saddened by how opposite to bold I often am. I read in Acts about the disciples getting warned to stop preaching or they’ll be put in prison. They prayed after getting those warnings, not that the resistance would stop but for boldness, so they could keep on doing what they were doing (Acts 4:29). I ask myself, would I pray the same way?

I am reminded of all the people in the world who are now being persecuted and massacred for their faith. Just last weekend there was another slaughter of Christians in Lahore, Pakistan.

In North America, where being a Christian doesn’t hold those kinds of risks, boldness needs another face. I love how Peter describes the boldness that his persecuted readers were to show. It applies just as well to us in countries where Christianity is, shall we say, tolerated, but becoming increasingly politically incorrect:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” – 1 Peter 3:15,16 (emphasis added).

Of course we can’t ignore the miracles that bolstered the New Testament believers’  faith and contributed not a little to their boldness. People were healed and raised from the dead at their hands. (No wonder they couldn’t keep quiet and crowds kept flocking to them!)  Though their refusal to keep silent in the face of persecution sometimes led to martyrdom,  the life of one persecutor, Saul, was miraculously turned around one afternoon and the result was the spread of Christianity throughout Europe and Asia.

I would like a boldness that includes the possibility of the miraculous.  A few years ago when I was reading in  the Quest Study Bible, I came across a statement that puzzled me. I quote it in the epigram to the poem I wrote then, and share below.

Philip_and_the_Ethiopian2_1335-416

Philip explains the scriptures to the Ethiopian – story in Acts 8:28-40

I ask “Why not?”

“Should Christians today imitate what Christians did in the Book of Acts? Not necessarily.” (Commentary on Acts 11:27-30, Quest Study Bible)

I ask, Why not?

We still have the sick, lame and oppressed.
We still have those who don’t understand
.   what they hear, what they read.
We still have rulers and laws that say, “Don’t preach!”
We still have kings who look on themselves as God.
We still have famines, natural disasters,
.   wars, and dispersing persecution.
We still have a religious establishment
.   which is more concerned with pleasing “Caesar”
.   than obeying God.
We still have the champions of the churchy status quo.
In other words, we still have the same foe.
And we still have the same
final words of Christ:
“But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”*

© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted by
Holly Mueller at  Reading, Teaching, Learning.

*Words of Jesus quoted from Acts 1:8.

 

 

Tabitha

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Dorcas (Tabitha) - Artist Unknown

Dorcas (Tabitha) – Artist Unknown

TABITHA

While others haggled over meat and fish
I caressed bolts of nubby linen
examined weave of wool
marveled at the rich lightness of silk.

When I became disciple
love of finery and fabric
was all I had to give
the Risen Wearer of the unseamed cloak.
Then I forsook my search
for that embroidered purple robe
which would proclaim “Gazelle.”
Instead stitched love for Him
into the tunics of orphaned lambs,
pieced sad raw sackcloth mantles
for widowed wives,
decorated girdles to flatteringly fit
more hopeful garments.

This day I find myself
(my needle stilled—
I couldn’t move it steady for the chills)
floating above them all
(strange how the drape of fabric
changes with perspective).

What is this place I enter
all so white (the fuller* here
must be exceptional)?
Beings of dazzle walk me arm-in-arm
to where He stands
and then I see what He is holding
in His hands
garment so gleaming white
I cannot look to tell
if it is silk, linen or purest wool.
“Gazelle!” He cries,
and I am held
by warm and welcoming eyes…

“Tabitha! Arise!”

I stare surprised
into amazed and tear-smudged faces
feel the sturdy weight of covers
hear the squeals of children
remember—it seems years ago—the tunic
I put down yesterday,
and know that I again
take up the shuttle
to weave the warp and woof of life
as ever—but not
for I have seen my robe
and looked into His eyes.

© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly

(Based on Acts 9:36-42)

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This week Adele Kenny’s poetry prompt was to write about heaven. After reading it I thought of this poem I wrote some years ago. It was inspired by the story of Tabitha from Acts 9:36-42 in the Bible. Tabitha (who is also known as Dorcas and whose name means gazelle) was an early Christian woman who got sick, died, and was then raised to life by Peter.

I’ve read many accounts of near-death experiences, and I’m sure my imaginings were influenced by those stories in my flight of fancy about how Tabitha spent the time between dying and coming back to life.

(Though written years ago, this poem fits into my current project—poems about women of the Bible.)

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Julie Larios at The Drift Record / Julie Larios

“Tabitha” was previously published in my book Family Reunion – 2007, Utmost Christian Writers

* fuller:  The word “full” is from the Anglo-Saxon fullian, meaning “to whiten.” (See complete definition, bottom, under Bible Dictionary definition.)