Sticks and stones

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; Acts 7:55-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-4

Who would have thought that being a waiter could be so dangerous? One might expect impatient customers, lousy tips and long hours—these come with the territory. But more dire consequences? Surely not. Yet in the sixth chapter of Acts Stephen is chosen as one of seven who will “wait on tables,” an occupation and a witness that will lead to his death. The 12 apostles must not be distracted from their preaching to attend to the daily distribution of food to the widows. So Stephen becomes a kind of subversive refectory worker, and though he is chosen not to preach but to serve, his witness of caring for the least in the community (Jew and gentile alike) so provokes and challenges the powers that be that he is captured and killed. The first Christian martyr comes not from those preaching the word, but from those feeding the hungry.

 

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