As a child, Rhoda’s story captured my imagination. If you act it out, you might notice that it’s very dramatic, and actually pretty funny. The guards sleep through this great escape, doors open automatically, and Peter thinks he’s sleep-walking. He finds his way to Mary’s house, where he will be safe, and his friends are all gathered there praying (probably for his safety). But they’re too busy praying to hear him pounding on the door! Only the servant girl Rhoda hears it, and she’s so surprised she runs to tell the others and forgets to let him in. They don’t believe her, and argue with her, and all the while Peter keeps knocking. Finally, they believe Rhoda and let him in. Imagine this as a clown skit - this is fun stuff! How often do we get so caught up in our own concerns that we forget to listen for God? How often is the answer to our prayers right in front of our eyes if we would just open them? We have something to learn from Rhoda, who was paying attention.
- Find the humor in the story - act it out as a family (or use dolls or Lego people to act it out). Our children (at ages 5 and 8) played with this story for about 30 minutes and would have been happy to keep going! There are lots of characters and situations to explore.
- Listening exercise: Sit in silence for 5 minutes, just listening (or less time, if your children are very young). As you listen, count how many different sounds you hear. After 5 minutes, report back to each other. What were some surprising sounds? Annoying sounds? Lovely sounds?
God, we know you work in ways that surprise us. Help us to listen for you. Amen