Today in some churches, Corpus Christi is observed, but for most this is St Barnabas’ Day. Perhaps the most significant act of Barnabas’ life was one that he did impulsively, and which we don’t even acknowledge until Evening Prayer today. It is recorded in Acts chapter 9: 26-31.
“And when Saul had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.”
Barnabas not only provided an introduction to the future apostle St Paul, he demonstrated qualities that characterise a follower of Jesus: trust and faith overcoming fear and disillusionment. One of the morning psalms today, is also illustrative of the hope that arises in a full and open heart. From Psalm 101 we read:
I will sing of faithfulness and justice;
to you, O Lord will i sing.
Let me be wise in the way that is perfect:
when will you come to me?
I will walk with purity of heart
within the walls of my house.
I will not set before my eyes
a counsel that is evil.
So, the action of one man brought trust in the face of suspicion. There are just two verses from Jeremiah to be read this morning: chapter 9, verses 23 and 24. In this short passage there is an indication of where true wisdom lies in a person. Jeremiah indicates that wisdom for wisdom’s sake is not a matter for glory, nor is great strength and nor are riches. The truly wise individual is the one who comes to understand and know the Lord, and to recognise the things of God; these being steadfast love, justice and righteousness.
This day, may be thought of as a refining sort of day. With Barnabas we are reducing things, in the cooking sense of boiling them to their essence, as we focus on the welcome and introduction that he gave for Saul. It serves to prove that the gentlest of instructions given in the simplest of forms may resound loudly in the lives of those who are aware enough. Such is the power of a person of trust, and one who cares little for himself and his own reputation, and everything for the extension of the Kingdom of God.