Reflecting on Acts 6:1-7
Every time I read that account from Acts that admits that the Greek-speaking widows were being left out of the daily distribution of food by the Hebrew-speaking men, I remember that horrible scene from Titanic. You know the one, where, in the panic for the lifeboats, those in third-class steerage were locked out of the gate that led to the boats so that as many of the wealthier passengers as possible could board.
It turns out that wasn’t actually the case. They weren’t “locked out,” but, in fact, a far higher percentage of those in steerage died that night than those on the upper decks. One explanation posited was that many of them were immigrants who didn’t speak English, and therefore didn’t understand the instructions that came over the loudspeaker.
It’s not hard to imagine that those earliest Christians, forming those communities of believers who “shared all things in common,” simply didn’t see the Greek-speaking widows. They were foreigners, and they didn’t speak the language of the dominant culture. The fact that the leadership assigned Greek-speaking deacons to make sure their widows were being fed betrays a huge crack in the Church from the get-go. If those in the minority were going to be fed, they had to find people who actually saw them so they could feed them.
This quarantine period has exposed the fissures in our own culture, hasn’t it? Today I saw a heartbreaking and inspiring story of an African-American mother who drives her two honor-roll students to the bus stop every morning and sits in the car with them all day so they can keep up with their school work. Why? Because they can get an internet connection there. I see her now.
Whom do you see more clearly now that the isolation period is winding down?
Kathy McGovern ©2020