Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beautiful Gate

Acts 3:1  One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. 2  And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3  When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4  Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." 5  And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6  But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." 7  And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8  Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9  All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10  and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

The Beautiful Gate is only mentioned in Acts 3.2 when Peter and John went into the Temple, and is not mentioned in any other historical sources. Archeologist  Leen Ritmeyer suggests that it was the Double Gate in the southern wall of the Temple Mount, which he describes in his book The Quest, pp. 67-74. [1] I like the idea that something beautiful happened at this gate – and it therefore gained a nickname amongst the disciples.

In the light of this I am intrigued to discover another “Beautiful Gate”. This is an NGO, founded by Toby and Aukje Brouwer, that began as a project for street children in Cape Town. Today Beautiful Gate has grown into an association with organisations in South Africa, Lesotho and Zambia.[2]  And the thought struck me that we can all create our own “Beautiful Gates”. Let us see those who hang around the closed gates and doors begging for morsels of life – and find ways of offering moments of beauty. This can range from a greeting and a smile, to assistance, to advocacy for change in social structures.  Each of us will have our own particular contribution – but all of us can echo the words of Peter: what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

1.    Peter and John went to pray;
they met a lame man on the way.
He asked for alms and held out his palms,
and this is what Peter did say:

2.    "Silver and gold have I none,
but what I have I give to you.
In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"

3.    He went walking and jumping and praising God,
walking and jumping and praising God.
"In the name of Jesus Christ 
of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Arr. © 1974, Celebration.

First Sunday after Trinity
31 Mercy, Justice and Love
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 197.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

[1] See also

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