Job 13-14; Acts 5; Psalm 38
It is interesting to note that Acts 5, in particular the story of Ananias and Sapphira does not occur in any lectionary of the church I have ever used for Sunday worship. As we so foolishly excise those ‘difficult’ bits of readings, Sunday by Sunday, either by dictat of the lectionary, or by skating over them in preaching – we seem all too ready to avoid the dark passages. We just want light
But what is Light, if we have no concept of the Dark
The story of Ananias and Sapphira comes crashing into the narrative of Acts as the most unwelcome of intruders – it is almost as if some vandal has cut down a favourite tree, or defaced a beautiful painting. Up to this point in the narrative all is well. There has been no persecution of the believers – their common life is a thing of beauty, and then all of a sudden two members of the infant church are dead, over what may seem to us to be a very small thing. We are shocked.
Like Job and his friends we argue over the ways of God, which seem unfair to us, and so too it may well seem is the incident with Ananias and Sapphira. ‘But they only told a lie!’
We want Light without there being any Dark – we want the blessing of God, but without any suffering. The treatment of Ananias and Sapphira seems to us unjust. Yet this is because of our failure to see the Light – our failure to apprehend what is happening amongst the believers, the enormity of the Resurrection Life.
It is the very Life and Light of the Living God, which flows through the veins of the early church, in whom there is no darkness at all. The very life of the Triune God is evident in the common life of the community of faith – wherever the Apostles go, there Life springs forth and the church grows and grows.
In Him, there is no darkness at all. Deceit, that hiding which was the outcome of the first sin of our forebears, has no place in the light. Ananias and Sapphira, as Adam and Eve, cover up. We must not miss the echoes of the ancient story. Deceit is in a sense The Sin. It is the Covering up that stops the flow of life. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins’
To Live in the light is to be honest about our own darkness, and so be healed – to cover up is the way of death. Ananias and Sapphira find the way to the Tree of Life is barred to them. There is no Life – and without Life the end is inevitable.
Confession is a Vital part of living in the Light