Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Name:
Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Clarity: Acts 18 with poem by Rudyard Kipling, Gallio's Song

Daily Readings
Psalm 22, Genesis 20, Isaiah 20, Acts 18

Daily Text: Acts 18

Paul in Corinth
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together—by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’ Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.’ He stayed there for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, ‘This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.’ Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.’ And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.

Paul’s Return to Antioch
After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow. When they reached Ephesus, he left them there, but first he himself went into the synagogue and had a discussion with the Jews. When they asked him to stay longer, he declined; but on taking leave of them, he said, ‘I will return to you, if God wills.’ Then he set sail from Ephesus.
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Ministry of Apollos
Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.


Clarity
The clarity with which those early Christians based Jesus heritage as Messiah on the prophetic word has long been lost to Christian teaching. It is not very convincing any longer in the Western Church and it is to be presumed that this is a result of critical scholarship. And yet it was convincing for those early apologists. Acts 18 reinforces this in the teaching of Paul, Aquilla and Priscilla, as well as in that of Apollos. Also missing from much of the present church is this clear teaching that Jesus is Lord and that every person needs to recognize him as such. So then, every person must be confronted with his Lordship and given the opportunity to accept it or reject it. Where ever in the church this doctrine, issuing in fervent evangelism, is missing or unenthusiastically taught, there the power of the Spirit and new believers are missing, as well. The ‘burning enthusiasm’ of Apollos is to be commended.

Gallio’s Song
Rudyard Kipling

All day long to the judgment-seat
The crazed Provincials drew—
All day long at their ruler’s feet
Howled for the blood of the Jew.
Insurrection with one accord
Banded itself and woke,
And Paul was about to open his mouth
When Achaia’s Deputy spoke—

“Whether the God descend from above
Or the Man ascend upon high,
Whether this maker of tents be Jove
Or a younger deity—
I will be no judge between your gods
And your godless bickerings.
Lictor, drive them hence with rods—
I care for none of these things!

One thing only I see most clear,
As I pray you also see.
Claudius Cæsar hath sent me here
Rome’s Deputy to be.
It is Her peace that ye go to break—
Not mine, nor any king’s.
But, touching your clamour of ‘Conscience sake,’
I care for none of these things.

Whether ye rise for the sake of a creed,
Or riot in hope of spoil,
Equally will I punish the deed,
Equally check the broil;
Nowise permitting injustice at all
From whatever doctrine it springs—
But—whether ye follow Priapus or Paul,
I care for none of these things!”
396:259

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home