Some random thoughts on St Stepen, bearing in mind either the 26th(West) or 27th(East) was St Stephen’s day.
The social gospel, with the power of the Gospel… The social gospel should not be just the doing of good deeds. More so, it should be folks doing good deeds, equipped, ready, and willing to make disciples should the Holy Spirit open the doors to do so. St Stephen was giving the role of helping the widows to allow the others to fully devote their time to prayer and the ministry of the word. While scripture doesnt give us much history as far as how much he did as concerns helping the widows, it fully addresses his sharing the good news of Christ to an audience who was less than receptive.
The synagogue of the Freedmen and their zeal for the law, so much so they completely missed the fact that the law and their scriptures pointed to Christ parallels a some of todays ministries. So many good deeds end up so focused on the deed aspect that Christ ends up being set aside… or in other cases, the tight integration of church and state forces Christ aside. When it comes to government funding of ministries, if someone steps up and fusses, things do not go well. Perhaps we really arent that different than the folks in the Freedman synangogue way back when, albeit it would be unlikely for the messenger to be stoned… but shunned would be a real possibility in some circumstances.
St Stephen’s defense in front of the Sanhedran rocked…