“God gives power and strength to his people.”
Ridley Principal Michael Volland offers a reflection on God as the source of our power and strength, as our final year students are sent out from Ridley Hall this summer.
In Acts 2 we find a running crowd. They’re drawn together by a new sound. A symphony of languages. People are amazed and perplexed. What does it mean for such a diverse group to hear about God’s deeds of power in their own tongues? And then, Peter stands with the eleven. He raises his voice and invites the crowd to listen to what he has to say. Hold on. . . This is Peter. A fisherman, not a performer or a politician. Someone more used to mending nets than delivering speeches.
What’s happened? How did we get from hiding behind locked doors to here? Psalm 68:35 tells us that, “God gives power and strength to his people”. It is in this power that Peter stands alongside the eleven. In the power and strength of the Holy Spirit Peter announces the good news of Jesus. He urges those listening to repent and be baptised.
Twenty centuries on, we have this wonderful knowledge of God in Jesus! We have inherited the disciple’s commission to share the good news with love and confidence. And through knowing Jesus, we believe God’s transformation of individuals, communities and cultures is possible. Indeed, we can witness to this transformation in our own lives!
We long, not only for the transformation that comes through diligent academic study and inspiring ministry experience, although these are valuable and important parts of God’s kingdom-work. We long for the transformation that happens when God gives power and strength to his people.
“We long for the transformation that happens when God gives power and strength to his people.”
The Psalmist witnesses to the fact that God, “. . . gives power and strength to his people”. He does this by remembering what God has done for others, and because he has experienced it for himself. He urges readers to trust that God is able and willing to give power and strength to them too, in their different time and place.
As God gives power and strength to all those who will be sent out from Ridley Hall this summer, they can step expectantly towards God’s hopeful future. This future will be an adventure and, like any good adventure, it will be full of opportunity and challenge. It will be a future in which the Holy Spirit is transforming lives and God’s Kingdom is coming with justice, mercy and peace.
The Revd Dr Michael Volland