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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St Barnabas

"The Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'" Acts 12:2

Few people are able to stand peacefully in the middle of a dispute without taking sides. St Barnabas seems to be one of them. A companion and friend to St Paul, it was Barnabas who assured the the Jewish leadership of the earliest Christian community that Paul's conversion was authentic. This had to be a thorny task. How someone like Paul, who had persecuted Christians, could be trusted was a difficult obstacle in the early church, but Barnabas took on this burden by working with Paul in Antioch.

But Barnabas was not always successful. When Barnabas wanted Paul to take Mark with them to revisit the churches they had helped found, Paul would have none of it. Mark had failed Paul once and Paul was unwilling to risk another falling out. Because of this disagreement Barnabas and Paul went their separate ways for a while, but eventually Barnabas was able to bring about healing among them.

In a church as divided as ours in the United States, it would be good to have a few more Barnabas', people who put aside winning arguments for the sake of unity among us.

Today, listen more than you talk.

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