Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:17)
On Christmas Eve 1914, soldiers in World War I were hunkered down in cold trenches. Walter Kirchhoff, a tenor with the Berlin Opera, started singing “Silent Night” in German. A calm settled over the troops. When he was finished, the British soldiers responded with the next verse of “Silent Night” in English. The soldiers slowly crawled from their trenches into no-man’s-land and exchanged gifts of cigarettes, chocolates, and sausages. Stanley Weintraub, author of Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, wrote, “They recognized that on both ends of the rifle, they were the same.”
There was animosity and mistrust between the Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans responded to Philip’s preaching, accepted Christ, and were baptized. The Jerusalem church sent Peter and John to confirm the newsflash concerning the Samaritans. Peter and John witnessed the Samaritans receiving the Holy Spirit when they laid their hands on them. In this transitional time for the church, major God-instigated attitudes changed and both sides realized God was in these events. The Samaritans and the Jerusalem church were united in Christ.
In the present-day church, envy, bitterness, pride, and selfishness may be rearing their ugly heads. God is still alive and present and longs for unity in his church. At the end of our fiery rifles, we are all in need of Christ’s forgiving, selfless attitude.
Let Christ transform attitudes to reflect grace and forgiveness.
Gena Duncan is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and active in her local church. She enjoys bicycling and gardening.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.