Monday 30 May 2011

Bible Book:

"On the Sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there." (v. 13)

Acts 16:11-15 Monday 30 May 2011


The so-called 'missionary journeys' of Paul and his colleaguesin the Acts of the Apostles are exciting travel adventures. Thereare sea crossings and a shipwreck, new places to visit and dangersto face. Not too long ago, schoolchildren would have spent their RE lessons using different coloured crayons to plot the variousroutes of Paul's travels around the Mediterranean.

This may have been an interesting insight into the challenges offirst-century travel, but the key issue in these journeys is notgeography, but gospel (good news). Today's reading starts with sometravel details, but its focus is on the meeting with Lydia.

There are a number of interesting points about this encounter:

  • When visiting a new city, Paul would often meet with those atthe synagogue. This is not mentioned specifically here and it maybe that there was no regular synagogue at Philippi at thattime.
  • Paul instead goes to the river to meet with the women who hadgathered there for prayer - including Lydia, who is described as a"worshipper of God" (v. 14) - a phrase which indicates that she wasa Gentile (non Jew) who had associated herself with the Jewishfaith.
  • Luke notes that Paul "sat down and spoke to the women" (v. 13).Presumably this means that he entered into dialogue andconversation rather than preached to them in a more formalcontext.
  • Through this conversation "the Lord opened her heart" (v. 14)and Lydia's life was transformed.

Today, if we are looking to 'commend Christ' to others -the theme of this week's readings - this is a good model to follow.It involves finding the best context to meet with others, enteringinto dialogue and being open to the working of God in ourconversation.


To Ponder

How might you find a helpful context to speakabout Christ today?

What would need to change in order that you mightmore regularly find time to 'sit down' with those you meet so thattime is given to such important conversations?

Previous Page Sunday 29 May 2011
Next Page Tuesday 31 May 2011