From the book of Acts:
16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. [NRSV]
This account of life in the early faith community offers a role model of RADICAL hospitality.
First, Paul and Silas go to a place of prayer. Instead of finding a quiet place of reflection and meditation:
- In this worshipful place there someone not only praying on the frailty of those who are searching and looking for direction and answers as they come to pray,
- the are also confronted with someone oppressed in forced labor being exploited for profit, and
- They are confronted with an opportunity to do something good that will break the law, damage ‘property’ and land them in jail if they do the ‘right’ and Godly thing.
Disciples living is not just a collection of thoughts, sayings and ideas.. it is a way that we live as people of the Holy Spirit.
What or whom are we willing to be taken to court? financial fine or even risk jail time? There is a cost of addressing sin and oppression.
- There has been much debate about immigration issues in our nation. No matter what you might think we should do as a nation. A key part of the problem is the willingness of those to hire people who are not living here legally a wage less than legal workers. We can’t say we don’t want these people in our country and at the same time fund the reasons why they are willing to risk to come here.
- We want to have the best price and not be foolish with the resources we have, but would we want our family members, of younger and older ages, being paid pennies to do a task that makes it affordable for our great discounted deal?
There is real hands on response made by Paul and Silas and the others to transform as life and a community.
Paul is annoyed that the evil spirit is telling the message of the faithful.
There are times that a mother would like for her children to set a good role model and it
Story, belt, hat, and nose wiper.. Preacher came to eat lunch..
How difficult it is when the tattooed, pierced, beatnik-type shows the grace and acceptance that others might judge or run away.
It frustrating when the voice of truth comes from the oppressed. It brings conviction to us all.
The Disciples free her from spiritual and economic oppression, leave her without a livelihood, and effect her ‘owners’ as well.
Disciples are not protected from evil for doing the Good, Godly thing.
WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION?
The Salvation story comes through an earthquake, a stayed suicide and an invitation to the family table.
Granny’s table: There is room for you and you are seated at the head, as it is round.
It doesn’t sound like a mother’s day passage, but
- what mother would not want her oppressed daughter to be free.
- What mother would not welcome a husband filled with faith
- What mother does not want to see who whole family around God’s table
All of them, let’s step it up and make Mom proud.