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.”
It would be so very nice if safety always came easily. Sadly, our fallen world doesn’t work in such a tidy way. After learning, during the night, that they were approaching land, and being told by Paul that the people would be safe, when day broke it was not altogether clear. The land was unknown, but it was land. There was a bay, but nobody could tell what was under the water. The sailors did their best to approach the land, but ran aground. As the ship was breaking up, the soldiers almost killed all the prisoners to prevent their escape. However, because Paul was one of the prisoners, the centurion stopped this plan.
So far, so good. Would they all drown anyway? The passengers did manage to make it to shore and all the prisoners were kept together. The ship was lost, the cargo was lost, all the personal possessions which were not on someone’s body - it was all gone.
When we are confronted with the real fallenness of this world it’s easy to lose hope. People become sick. Businesses fail. We are hurt and offended by our co-workers and even our family members. And we realize that at the end of this earthly life every last one of us can expect to die. There’s loss all around us.
What is the hope? God’s mercy and grace intervene and draw us, not always to avoid the troubles of life, but to walk through those troubles. We have a promise in Christ which goes beyond this mortal life. He will guard his people to the end of the age - forever. No matter what things we have and lose, eternal life is something which cannot be taken away from those who believe on Jesus. That’s the hope Paul had. We always hope that many of his fellow passengers were finding the same hope as they ended up on shore.
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