I’ve spent a good deal of time lately praying and contemplating the end of the Acts of the Apostles. The whole book ends not with a bang but a whimper. After all of the action of those 28 chapters, the story ends abruptly:
“[Paul] lived [in Rome] two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30-31).
Hmmm. That’s an odd ending. We don’t hear about Paul’s death; we don’t hear about Peter’s death. The whole story line is left open-ended as we are left to wonder, “what happened next?”
But this is precisely the literary genius of the author of Acts because we do know what happens next. In churches around the world the kingdom of God is still proclaimed and the good news of Jesus Christ is still taught. We continue the Acts of the Apostles each day with our own works of power through the Holy Spirit. The death of Peter and Paul, the deaths of Christians in the past, the departure of clergy from one congregation to another does not mean the end of the Church. The Acts of the Apostles never ends.
As we approach this holy season of Lent, I encourage all of you to continue the story. My Lenten discipline will be to write my continuation of the Acts of the Apostles. I am going to record all of the deeds of power and works of wonder that the Holy Spirit has accomplished in my life and in the lives of those near me.
And when I die, and my story is completed, I trust that a new generation of followers will take up the mantle to faithfully continue the work of Jesus Christ in the Church.