April 02, 2006

The Shadow

Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem.

The apostles faced terrible persecution, and with the previous fate of Annaias and Sapphira, it is really no wonder that, though respected, people did not dare to join the apostles in the temple or wish to work beside them.

Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

In Acts, 5: 15, people who passed within Peter's shadow were cured. We could assume that people were not cured by the shadow, but by God's power working through Peter.

The shadow is a curious addition to this healing story. Why is the shadow mentioned?

Later, in more recent history, the shadow receives great relevance by Carl Jung. According to Wikipedia, "In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind which is mysterious and often disagreeable to the conscious mind, but which is also relatively close to the conscious mind. It may be (in part) one's original self, which is superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind; afterwards it comes to contain thoughts that are repressed by the conscious mind. The shadow is instinctive and irrational, but is not necessarily evil even when it might appear to be so. It can be both ruthless in conflict and empathic in friendship. It is important as a source of hunches, for understanding of one's own more inexplicable actions and attitudes (and of others' reactions), and for learning how to cope with the more problematic or troubling aspects of one's personality."


At 3:29 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Meredith :-). That Jungian stuff is interesting ... maybe Luke wanted us to see Peter as so "in the spirit" that even his shadow aspect was able to heal. It reminds me a little of the scripture passage where a woman is healed by just touching Jesus' clothing.

At 4:33 a.m., Blogger david said...

I wonder what "shadow" meant for such people before we had folks like Jung? Certainly people used to talk of ghosts as "shades" -- I wonder if they saw shadows as somehow connected to people's spirits or souls -- even without Jung's insights to guide them. After all, Jung developed his theories after studying world mythologies.

At 1:20 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

It has some important uses in the O.T.:

Psalm 91:1 and the Psalms often refer to our abiding under the shadow of God's wings.

Of course a Hebrew scholar might tell us more about this.


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