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.”
In Acts 27 we find the apostle Paul on his way to Italy, where he will stand before Caesar’s judgment. How did Romans transport prisoners? In this instance, they sent a number of prisoners with a centurion and some other soldiers. The group took passage on commercial transports. There’s a human element here as well. Paul is even allowed to leave and receive hospitality from friends in verse 3. Does this seem strange? Possibly so, but we need to remember that Paul was essentially in protective custody at his own request. There weren’t any specific criminal charges. Paul was not considered dangerous. If he escaped when on leave, he would be the one in danger.
The greater danger was the weather. Luke gives us a good bit of detail about the course of the journey. The weather would become less stable as winter approached. Sailing vessels at the time of Paul didn’t have particularly deep keels. Navigational technology was fairly limited. Contrary winds and low visibility were much more serious problems than they are today.
We learn several things from the account of this journey. First, we find that Paul has favor with the centurion as well as with his friends in Sidon. Christians don’t necessarily need to be in adversarial relationships with others. For the most part we can live peaceably in our communities, as we treat others with dignity and respect. Second, we see that the whole group, which apparently includes Luke (“we” sailed…) found it a difficult voyage. Even in the time of difficulty God’s hand can be seen. As he protects his people he also protects the other passengers and the cargo. Yet we will see that the journey turns less positive as time goes on.
May the Lord give us a life of peace and favor in our community and patience to deal with the struggles along our journeys.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.