The Light in the Darkness by Patrick Henry Reardon

Column

As It Is
Written . . .

The Light in the Darkness

When, on the occasion of the arrest of Peter and John, the Church assembled to pray, a chief component in the prayer was the second psalm. That psalm was chosen, obviously, because it spoke of a collusion of God's enemies against his Messiah: "The kings of the earth rise up and the princes come together against the Lord and against his Anointed One." In the arrest of her two notable apostles, the Church recognized the very collusion described in the psalm: "For truly against your holy servant (pais) Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, have gathered together" (Acts 4:27–28). This meaning was—and is—
perfectly plain.

What is perhaps not so plain—a point, indeed, that begs for explanation—is the particular and striking way the Church invoked God at the beginning of the prayer: "Lord, you are he that made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them" (4:24). Why, in the context of this prayer, where the historical circumstance is very specific, do we find this direct and explicit attention to God as the universal Creator? What was there about the arrest of Peter and John that prompted the Church to introduce the doctrine of Creation?

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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