Saturday, June 1, 2013


Act 16:11-18  We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis,  and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.   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.  A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.  When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home." And she prevailed upon us.  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.  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."  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.

Lydia of  Thyratira ( & Philippi)
Lydia of Thyratira was the first Christian convert in Europe. She dealt in purple cloth, which, because it was expensive to make, was the clothing of royalty and the very wealthy. It is probably AD50, and Paul is on his second missionary journey. He sees a vision calling him to Macedonia[1], and arrives in Philippi where he looks for a place to hold his Sabbath prayers. As narrated above, Paul discovers a group of women at the Gangites River (now called the Angista River) with whome he shares the story of Jesus, and they are baptised. Lydia subsequently offers him hospitality, and base for a house church is established. When Paul leaves Philippi, Luke remains behind to nurture this fledgling church – a church which retains the affection of Paul: in Philippians 4:1 we note Paul’s words of affection for this new Christ-following group. Luke then includes a dramatic healing story as part of this Philippian visit – and event that would ultimately lead to the arrest of Paul and Silas. After their release they returned to Lydia’s home where they “encouraged the brothers and sisters”.[2]      

The significant point of this story is that the converts to the Jesus movement were women. This new Jewish revivalist movement is challenging the patriarchy of the Jewish-Christ followers. Women are attracted, and in Philippi, Lydia become the leader of the church. Whenever people want to insist that the household of God must be led by men, let us remember that the household of God in Philippi was led by Lydia. God makes no distinction between men and women when it comes to leadership. The only qualification is a servant heart.

Lead me Lord
Lead me all my life
Walk by me, walk by me across
The lonely road that I may face
Take my arms and let your hand
Show me the way
Show the way to live inside your heart
All my days, all my life

Gary Valenciano


First Sunday after Trinity
31 Mercy, Justice and Love
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 197.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.



[1] Acts 16:9
[2] Acts 16:40

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