The Acts of the Apostles details the growth of the Church following the Ascension and Pentecost, and we read from this book every day of the Easter season. It's worth our attention - and a good practice for the Easter season would be to prayerfully read the entire book - come on, you have fifty days!
Today, Peter and John are seen going to the Temple to pray. They encounter a man who is crippled and begging near the door. It's a common scene in any big city: the poor, homeless, unemployed, down-trodden, asking for spare change. We can probably place ourselves in Peter and John's sandals today. But Peter doesn't have any money. I find myself in the same situation often, and when at an intersection, I sheepishly shrug when the poor come to my window.
But, rather than a shrug or money carelessly tossed in the man's direction, Peter does something different. He looks intently at him talks to him.
"Look at us," he says.
And the man "paid attention to him." Then - and only then - does he receive what he truly needs: healing and wholeness. And it all started with two people paying attention to one another.
Here is our lesson in discipleship. Perhaps we are not blessed with the means to financially assist those in need around us. However, all of us have been given the gift of relationally. When we encounter those poor, down-trodden and marginalized in our days, we don't need to see them as uncomfortable interruptions to our trips. Rather, smile. Say hello.
It's God who can give them what they need - not us. And in connecting, even for a brief moment, we show forth the light of a disciple, and that blessing is always returned.