Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Acts 18: 12-28

Paul was, at his heart, a missionary. He planted churches all over the Mediterranean and did all he could to continually support, encourage and at times admonish the churches he built even in his absence. In today’s reading we hear of his “companions” for the Gospel – Priscilla and Aquilla – a married couple who journeyed with him, were excellent teachers and fellow tentmakers. They all used tentmaking as a means of income as they moved around proclaiming the Gospel message.

During this time, Gallio was proconsul of Achaia and made his declaration that Christianity is not something Rome is concerned about, therefore, Paul, Priscilla and Aquilla would not be arrested for proclaiming the Gospel. That didn’t mean that Paul and others who travelled with them were not in any danger, they still were met by hostile and even violent people.

This reminds me that we have so many missionaries in our world today working in hostile and even violent lands. In particular, the Diocese of Virginia has a missionary in the Sudan, the Rev. Lauren Stanley. She is a strong woman of God who, like Paul, is a missionary at her core. She travels between the US and the Sudan constantly reminding those of us in the States that there are people in the Sudan in desperate need of the hope we have in Christ. She is also constantly reminding the people of Sudan that God loves them and that we in the US care about them and want to help. Lauren spends her days teaching in a local bible school under the protection of the Anglican Bishop and is often escorted out of the country for her own safety. She has seen and heard of horrific tragedies that we in the US can’t even begin to imagine.

There are so many others like Lauren who need constant prayer and support. Whether they be in Sudan, Iraq, China, Rwanda or Myanmar, there are so many places where the Gospel is desperate to be heard, yet it is dangerous to speak it. Today, we remember those missionaries and the people they serve. God bless each one of them.

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