Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas (gazelle). She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, rise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9: 36-42)

Peter is not the only “saint” mentioned in this passage. But he is special. The other “saints” send for him, to “please come to us without delay,” when tragedy strikes the community at Joppa. Why? Apparently, the community presumes that Peter can “do” something about the death of Tabitha. And he does. He prays to their and our common Lord, the One Source of sanctity, wonderful in His saints, and Tabitha rises from the dead.

Let me not hesitate to call upon the strongest among us, the saints of past and present, for help, when I need it. These people are not “sources” of sanctity, but have opened themselves up to God’s grace more fully, more completely, and are thus powerful channels of His healing power. “Wonderful is God in his saints: the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people. Blessed be God.” (Ps 67: 36)

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