Luke’s Acts of the Apostles narrative ends, ends in, with ‘kindness’

15 Jul

I tell people I am not a kind person,

I go immediately go angry with people who hurt others, especially children.

I hate feeling my own empathic emotions. They hurt so.

I love watching ice skaters in competition, especially when they fall.

I love being right. Right about trivia and people; events and sports; right.

But I can recognise kindness. And giving, generous kindness does not hurt me as I see it.

I think the doctor, writer Luke is similar to me in this revised. From Stephen to Lydia; from Barnabas to Lois, Luke sees, he feels kindness. And images and people of kindness wash over the endings of his Acts narrative.

And this how Luke ends the Acts of the Apostles narratives with: images and actions of ‘kindness’. The kindness of strangers, gentiles…,

Strangers.

One of the great closing, exit lines of a character is spoken by the disgraced and emotionally and sexually abused Blanche in Tennessee William’s play, “A Street Car Named Desire” –

‘ whoever you are- I have always depended on the Kindness of strangers.’

Gentiles are Paul and Luke’s kind listeners as Acts ends,

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

One of my Favorite scriptures is Proverbs 19:22. Today I close this series on Acts Lord king at two translations of this word.

First, from Young’s Literal Translation

‘The desirableness of a man is his kindness,’

And now, New International Version

‘What a person desires is unfailing love; ‘

Kindness, is, in the Hebrew, the same as ‘unfailing’ love

The Hebrew word here on ‘kindness’ and/or deep unfailing love here is difficult to translate. It is used a great deal in the OT and is key in the Book of Ruth,

Defined, it is ‘Chesed (Hebrew: חֶסֶד, also Romanized ḥesed) is a Hebrew word. In its positive sense, the word is used of kindness or love between people, of piety of people towards God as well as of love or mercy of God towards humanity.’

Kindness is both an attribute as men and women and of God, of Jesus. And of Gentiles as Acts close.

Kindness is defined in great part here as ‘listening.’ I am kind when I listen to others, to strangers, to the poor, to the different. I am kind when I do not, do not just just to myself, but when I mediate and listen to Him.

To His word. To Acts. To act.

I pray today for to be as a gentile, to listen as a gentiles. To live as such. To experience ‘being green’, to experience first love, to be burnt out of my unholy lips as Isaiah in the temple.

To be empathic with others again.

To listen.

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