13 1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3 NIV)
What is the difference between prophets and teachers? The men listed aren’t differentiated in any way except by the parenthetical comments.
Why the parenthetical comments? (Perhaps because Barnabas and Saul are known to the readers – having been previously introduced in Luke’s narrative).
Worshiping – what did that look like I wonder? – and fasting seem to be the preparation for the sending off. After the Spirit’s message, the they prayed and fasting. Suggestive of “worshiping” being parallel of “praying.”
This passage follows for me on yesterday’s about the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord. Here the Lord’s presence comes in the Holy Spirit’s message while they “worshiped’ and “fasted.” They then received instruction. After which they are sent off with prayer and fasting and laying on of hands.
How like God to answer my questions raised in yesterday’s Life Journal! We prepare by worship/prayer and fasting. For me fasting is the thing missing – abstaining not only from food but from other things that feed the flesh rather than the spirit.
It also requires community. The calling came in the midst of the group’s prayer and not to them alone.
Holy Spirit, may I prepare a place for you to come, a space for you to fill by praying and fasting. To make room for you. To hear your call. Come to me in the community of the faithful – and remind me of how you come to me there in a way you do not in any other way. Amen.