I felt so blessed to be at the UPT choir concert yesterday at Third. Our choir sounded amazing, especially their performance of "Wake up, Church," which captures the moment at Laurelton well. It was especially powerful for me because I know our UPT pastors and musicians were praying for us through our transitions in musical leadership. Being there with people who have been on this journey with us, and having Alan leading our great choir felt like an answer to prayer and an important piece falling into place. It was awesome to see the combined choirs of our UPT churches singing "The Glory of the Lord" from Handel's Messiah. We are stronger together, and it was great to see that.
Today's reading takes place shortly after Paul's arrival in Jerusalem. He told the crowd about his encounter with Jesus and his ministry to the gentiles. At this point the crowd tried to kill him, but the disturbance caught the attention of the Roman authorities, who rescue Paul and then try to figure out what the fuss is about. For the early church, sometimes the government was a threat, but it could also be a protective force. Paul uses everything in his power to spread the gospel, including standing up for his legal rights. When that leads him to prison, he also uses that for evangelism.