IN THOSE DAYS, Peter went among all the believers, he came also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them, and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Christ is risen!
"Truly, I tell you, the one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in My Name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in My Name you ask for anything, I will do it" (John 14:12-15).
This is the promise that the Lord made to His disciples, and through them to us. And we see this promise being fulfilled already by the apostles as described in the book of Acts. Two such examples are given in the above reading - Peter healing a paralyzed man and resurrecting a dead young woman. If these miracles sound very similar to those that Christ did, then it's exactly how it is supposed to be. After all, He did say that we will do the works that He did. The only difference is that Christ healed and resurrected people by His own divine power, while Peter, and other apostles, do it through Christ. Or rather, the Lord does it through them.
"Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you," Peter says in the first instance. And, before resurrecting Tabitha, "he knelt down and prayed." This goes to emphasize that it was not Peter who was performing these miracles. It was Christ. It is always Christ Who works through us. All we have to do is become receptive instruments in His hands.
One interesting note from the reading are Peter's words to Aeneas, who was paralyzed eight years. It's not only, "Jesus Christ heals you," but also, "Get up and make your bed!" I don't know about you, but if I were bedridden for eight years, making my bed would not be the first thought in my head after being healed.
"Get up and make your bed." What's so significant about making my bed? One of the signs of good psychological health is our ability to do every-day tasks, such as keeping personal hygiene, making basic food, and social interactions. One of these every-day tasks is, actually, making our bed. It's a basic task that reflects our psychological health.
Also, when do we make our bed? Or, when should we make our bed? Usually, it's right after we wake up, or at the very least right before we are ready to leave our bedroom and get going with our day. Right? How we begin our day very often indicates how we will spend it. If I begin my day by making my bed, I am preparing myself, mentally and physically, to have an ordered and organized day.
People today talk a lot about making a difference in the world or even changing the world. Beside the fact that this is basically impossible, the most impact I can have in this life is with myself and, maybe, just maybe, with those I live with. However, if I can't make my own bed, if I can't positively impact my own day, then thinking that I can affect anyone else is delusional.
Take the current situation we are in and figure out how you can influence yourself and those around you. Most of us are on lockdown, quarantined in our homes. The easiest way to stay sane and have positive impact is to do the basic things, starting with making our own beds. And then, if we live with others under the same roof, how can we position ourselves in order to be instruments in Christ hands, so that the Lord would work through us for the benefit of others? Ponder these questions for the next few days and try to find answers to them.
So, focus on basic tasks, influence yourself daily, and let God work through you to impact others.
Christ is risen!
Indeed He is risen!
For last year's reflection, click here.
Yours in the risen Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest