As we read Acts, we encounter the Apostles at work carrying out the ministry of a the early church and mission of Jesus Christ. Do some of these actions seem familiar? Did you notice anything familiar perhaps in Acts 6, when the Apostles, those who were sent out, laid their hands on the seven to ensure there were enough to assist widows in the distribution of food. Some consider the laying on of hands of Stephen and the others the ordination of the first deacons. According to the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer:
The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his
Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and
to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the
Gospel and the administration of the sacraments. - BCP pg. 856
This order of ministry, in part, originating from this particular passage. They are sent out in particular to serve the poor. The laying on of hands to invoke the Holy Spirit's presence is present in the ordination of Bishops and Priests as well. We also see it in the right of Confirmation (Reaffirmation and Reception) and at every baptism, the Oil of Chrism, blessed by a Bishop, brings the presence of the bishop to that moment. The laying on of hands at baptism, ordination, and Confirmation, continues the acknowledgement of the passing on of the particular call of the Holy Spirit in individuals and we trace it back to moments like this in Scripture.
As we read, take note of other areas in our liturgy or Church tradition that look similar to what you are reading. They are likely not only related but based upon those events.
The Rev. William L. Packard
I am excited to read the Bible with you, not only for the knowledge and ability to say, "I've read the whole thing," but for the wonderful things that occur when Scripture is read intentionally each day.
St. David's Episcopal Church & School
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