The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Acts 23:23-30 shows Paul in protective custody, being sent from Jerusalem to the Roman governor, Felix. Because of the danger to Paul from plotting Jewish leaders, the commander sent Paul by night accompanied by over 200 soldiers. This is a very serious level of protection.
Who knows what was going on in the commander’s mind? He wrote a letter to the governor portraying himself as the hero. He found out that Paul was a Roman, found there to be a conflict and a plot, and has protected him and sent him on to Felix. This is an interesting way to spin the situation. It is, we notice, more or less accurate, simply with the focus of activity shifted slightly.
We all seem eager to protect ourselves. We all would like to be the heroes. Yet, while much of what we do seems mundane, there are elements which are indeed heroic. The commander rescued a citizen from people who would kill him. He did this at least twice. He arranged to protect the citizen. This was honorable. He promotes himself, but we can understand why he would want to do so.
Jesus calls his people to humility, even when doing something that is significant. Yet we don’t always have to hide the fact that we do our job. We can rejoice in the knowledge that, bit by bit, by faithful attention to our duty, we may just make the world a better and safer place for someone.
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