Thoughts for Monday 21st September, 2020

Psalm 119:97-104; Exodus 16:31-35; Romans 16:1-16

 

Monday 21 September

 

If we ever need any evidence that the Church of Scotland has taken the right decision to ordain elders, deacons and ministers, then Romans 16 is perfect. For, here, in our New Testament passage for today, in a list of church leaders in Rome, Paul mentions ten women. Most of them are referred to by name, and the first one that is mentioned at all (both men and women) is in fact a woman, Phoebe.

 

The others are Priscilla (who, you’ll notice, is actually given more prominence than her husband, Aquila), Mary, Junia (who some early translators have corrupted to Junias, turning her into a him!), Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus’s mother, Julia and Nereus’s sister. Whether men or women, though, we do hope that Paul didn’t leave anybody out, which is always a risk whenever we start naming people.

 

There are a number of films which depict the Roman Church, but one fairly recent one is ‘Paul, Apostle of Christ’ (2018). Co-starring the English actress, Joanne Whalley, as Priscilla, it’s set after the Great Fire of 64AD. Which, although the Roman historian, Tacitus, would have been an infant at the time, he writes that Nero blamed on the Christians who lived there. If caught, he writes, they could then find their bodies being used as fuel to light the city’s streets at night.

 

Although it is not actually Biblical, Andrew Hyatt, who wrote and directed the film, has Paul imprisoned on a charge of arson as he is then visited by Luke, whose medical skills (see Colossians 4:14) come in very handy indeed.

 

Let us pray:

 

(International Fire Chiefs Association, Firefighters Prayer)

 

When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child before it's too late,
or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to guard my neighbour and protect their property.
And if according to your will I have to lose my life,
bless with your protecting hand my loving family from strife.

 

Amen.

 


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