Today’s Reading: Acts 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.
I always looked forward to summer vacation, because I knew I was going to visit my favorite aunt in Baton Rouge. She is hard one to describe – Aunt Vee was a like an exotic, tropical drink – a true southern belle with a tom boy twist. My memories of her are colorful, to say the least. She was one crazy lady! But the thing I loved most about being with Aunt Vee was how she could make me feel so very special and loved with just a wink and a smile.
Aunt Vee’s health was never good. For as long as I can remember, she struggled with some serious health issues, including a couple of brain tumors that nearly took her life in her mid-forties. She was the runt of the litter, the smallest of her seven brothers and sisters. I was even taller than Aunt Vee, and since I’m only 5’1”, that is not saying much. She was full of energy, vim and vigor. She had a southern accent as thick as that jar of molasses sitting on her kitchen table. I loved being the recipient of her bear hugs and sweet smooches every time she would greet me with a hearty, “Hey darlin!” But most of all, I loved being around Aunt Vee because she brought so much life and light to everything she touched. She was a healing presence even in the midst of her own physical infirmities. Walking in her shadow was a sweet treat on a hot and muggy summer’s day.
Aunt Vee lived life large. She loved her husband and children, and was always there for them, whenever they needed a shoulder to cry on. She lovingly took care of my Uncle Frank in their home, as he suffered from and eventually passed away with cancer. She fell in love again and married a younger man later in life, and together, they opened a house church in their neighborhood. When Aunt Vee praised the Lord, the rafters literally rattled. She did absolutely nothing in a half-hearted way. I think I’ve inherited a little of my Aunt Vee’s holy rolling spunk. I suspect she will be one of the first ones to greet me when I walk through heaven’s gate, jumping up and down in her pearly white Keds® tennis shoes and choir gown, shouting, “Get in here, darlin’ and let me see just how much you’ve grown!”
People know when they are in the presence of someone special. Simon Peter had a presence about him, and when folks were near, they felt better. It was the Holy Spirit working within Peter to do the healing miracles that were happening all around him. That holy glow remains today. We see it evidenced on the faces of our Christian friends. I get goose bumps just reading about Peter’s miraculous transformation from a red-headed, quick tempered fisherman, to one of God’s chosen vessels. He never did anything half-way. We can hang out in the shadow of our mentors and teachers, learning much from whence they came, and whose they were. I think Simon Peter and my Aunt Vee had a lot in common.
When I grow up, I’d like to be a reflection of their lives: the Apostle who walked in the Spirit and my charismatic Aunt, who knew how to praise the Lord in a powerful, earth-shattering way. When I get to Heaven, I hope my Aunt will see just how much I’ve grown toward Christ-likeness. I may still be taller than her, but her faith in Jesus Christ will always be a huge inspiration to me.
Take a minute to thank the Lord today for the people who continually inspire you to move closer to Jesus Christ. Folks just like the Apostle Peter and your favorite Aunt.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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