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.”
After an emotionally charged situation ends it’s very normal to react strongly to other events. Being washed up on an unknown shore after a tremendous and frightening storm may well have reminded passengers of Homer of Vergil, who both featured heroes landing in places filled with very dangerous barbarians. What kind of place could this be?
The natives, whom Luke does call barbarians, proved kind. It was winter, everyone was wet, the wind was blowing, so they needed a fire as quickly as possible. The islanders welcomed the strangers, knowing that they themselves could be in the same situation sometime.
Emotions were no doubt still running high when a serpent bit Paul. Deep down inside we all think we get what we deserve, and so do others. So if Paul is attacked by a snake and we may expect him to die, he must be some sort of dangerous person. What’s the only logical conclusion when he doesn’t die? He must be some sort of a god or at least someone we should listen to.
The previous night Paul had told his fellow passengers that God would protect them. Now he gets to tell them about the true God and His protection. Not only that, but he gets to do it on land, by a fire.
The Lord works out our lives in unusual ways. Our role is to be sensitive to his action, to take advantage of the opportunities that we recognize, and to trust that the Lord will be faithful in all things.
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