Friday, October 17, 2008

Acts 28:1-16

Today’s reading takes up the amazing story of the shipwrecked travelers. Paul is being taken to Rome. God had given Paul a message and once again Paul had delivered the message; that not one hair on anyone’s head would be lost. (Acts 27:34). As God promised, the company all arrived safely on the island of Malta (soggy and terrified, but they got there).

When first reading this story it seems like a wild adventure story, and it is; storms, shipwreck, prisoners swimming to shore in the rain after the guards deciding not to kill them to prevent their escape, meeting the natives of the island. It sounds like a big budget adventure movie.

As I consider it, however, also amazing is Paul’s relationship with God. Paul gets bitten by a poisonous snake but God allows him to live. Paul heals the father of the chief official of the island. Paul heals all the rest of the sick people on the island. Paul is filled with the power of God and is used by God as healer and prophet. All these things that are public gifts are the result of Paul’s private relationship with God. I like thinking about this. I wonder what Paul said when he talked to the Lord. From our reading together these months in the book of Acts, we know Paul said “thank you” a lot. We know that Paul said that all the good things in his life, all his accomplishments, were nothing compared to knowing Christ. Paul wanted to be used by God so much that late in life he said his life had been “poured out like a drink offering “ to God. Do we pour out our lives?

In the later afternoon today I sat outside for a minute. I noticed that as birds landed on my porch to get peanuts the late afternoon sun caught their feathers and the birds shown briefly like different colored jewels. To me looking at Paul’s relationship with God is like looking at a jewel.

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