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This past Saturday was the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. In the reading for the feast we sampled from Peter’s sufferings (Acts 12:1-11). In the passage Peter is in Jail for preaching the Gospel and an angel is sent to rescue him.
There is a certain level of detail in the angel’s instructions to Peter that serve as a kind of picture of the life of faith. In particular, the following words of the angel come to mind:
Angel - Lord - Stood - Peter - Jail
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by Peter in the jail, and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
Note then five fundamentals for faith from the words of the Angel:
Rise - Angel - Peter - Call - Death
Rise – The angel says to Peter, “Get up”. This is a call to rise from death, to rise from despairing and doubt, to stand up! Every Christian must die to sin and rise, ready to walk with God.
The text also indicates that a bright light shown in the cell. Here is a symbol for our baptism which the Eastern Churches call “illumination.” In our baptism we arose and saw light.
Chains - Prison - Condition - Baptism - Peter
The chains and dark prison symbolize our condition before baptism. But as Peter arises the chains fall from his wrists and his liberation from the darkness of the prison is at hand. And this symbolizes what arising in baptism has done for us.
Restrain – The angel then tells Peter to put on his belt (cincture), which is traditionally a sign of chastity and self-control. The Christian life cannot be riddled with unchasteness or other excesses of this...
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