Lectionary Text for Sunday: Acts 16:9-15 (NRSV)
As we continue in Acts, we see that the Easter Vision takes a turn in several ways in today’s text.
We end up in Philippi and we have an entire letter from Paul to this church so we can see how their relationship began in Acts and thrived.
Paul writes that this church supported him in the early days of his ministry:
You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
Philippians 4:15-18 (NRSV)
It is fascinating that Paul initially goes to Philippi because of a vision that a man was requesting his help. He encounters women at the river and we see the conversion of Lydia. Since she owned her own business, it is not unlikely that Lydia was one of the supporters of Paul’s missionary activities. It is also possible that Euodia and Syntyche mentioned in Philippians 4:2 were two of the women that Paul met by the river that day.
This turn shows that the church thrived with female leadership. It was not likely Paul’s expectation but he has learned that God is going to utilize surprising candidates for furthering the church. He has taken a turn geographically in moving into Macedonia, he takes a turn culturally in witnessing to Gentiles and he takes a turn in leadership in placing women in positions of authority.
Just as women were discounted in Paul’s day, who might we discount for leadership in the church today? Who might God be using for furthering the church in the 21st century?
I hope that you’ll join us in worship (either in person or online) as we continue to see how the early church speaks to us in the church today!