Imagine you're in a big sprawling city. It is one of those dark dreary nights. You know, one of those moonless nights where it's hard to see the back of your hand. The shadows seem deeper and the night sounds of a busy city seem muffled.
In the middle of this city is a house - like a rowhouse. Attached to each side of this house is another house, and another attached to each of these. This house is two stories tall with a landing on the rooftop that the residents use to enjoy the cool evenings. On the second floor of this house is a great room; a place for many to gather together. A group of people are gathered now, they're praying; they're praying hard. The praying in that room is intense, everyone's focus is 100% on the object of their prayer. Nothing exists for these folks beyond their praying together in koinonia – that is the Greek word that describes: love, fellowship and community all rolled together: koinonia.
Now down stairs, at the front door is a young girl whose name is Rhoda. She is stationed there to greet visitors; whether these visitors are merely seeking shelter or coming to join the community in prayer.
This is Rhoda's first time monitoring the door – entrusted to stand guard and verify who's who. These are troubling times; civil and social unrest is everywhere. Steven has been stoned to death by an angry mob; King Herod has just executed James for preaching about Jesus and His resurrection; the whole city is on edge.
Rhoda is nervous, every creak or squeak of the house, every whisper of the wind - puts her on edge. She waits in anticipation of a knock.
As the evening wears on, no visitors come knocking at the door. Rhoda is starting to feel worn out; the anticipation and stress of waiting frays her nerves and drains her energy. She is drowsy when she hears it, a soft knock on the door. "What was that?" She whispered in terror. She listens again. There it is again, a soft knock on the door. Rhoda jumps up and runs to the door. She starts to unbar the door; but then she hesitates and looks through a small viewing door. Outside, Rhoda sees a lone man wrapped in in a worn cloak...
Grace and Faith Sermon.