One of the things I have tried to do during Lent, to varying degrees of success over the years, is to connect with the humanity of Christ. In fact, most of the time I spend in Scripture I find myself trying to identify with the humanity I find there. For me, that is a profound way to remember that despite my own brokenness, my own sin, I serve a God who loves me unconditionally.
In our reading today I see, especially in verses 16-18, God working through a very human moment from Paul. We read about this slave woman who was possessed by a demon, who was following Paul and Silas and the rest of the group through the streets of Philippi just shouting. And Paul gets sick of it. I can identify with that moment for Paul; that would be so grating, so annoying! It reads as though Paul lashes out by calling the evil spirit out of the woman. We see the power of Jesus Christ at work. The power of the name of Jesus. The demon left! So, even though Paul has a very human moment of annoyance, it is used to glorify God, and to heal this woman from the spirit that had been tormenting her.
I am reminded in just these first moments of this story that the power of God works through us and the power of God works, quite often, despite us. Then, as the story continues, we see God at work in more and more ways right there in the city. He works in the jail, in the life of the jailer. All in this one narrative we read about God working through people, working in people, working despite people, all to do incredible life-changing things, the kinds of things that draw people back into relationship with the God of the universe.
Loving God, as we journey through this season of Lent, may our eyes be open to the ways you are at work in the world. Through us, and despite us. Help us, God, to be reminded of the power of the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. And help us, God, to follow you with our whole lives. We pray this in the name of Jesus and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.