I'm loving having a vacation at home! Today I had a few errands to be done in Bradford and Newmarket and being out there during a work day, it felt as if I was playing hooky from school. I went to the Upper Canada Mall--not to shop but to drop off a book I'd promised to someone and I found the whole place under major construction. The mall looked like a huge beast undergoing a metamorphosis into an even bigger one. In a more leisurely mode than usual, I studied my surroundings rather than rushing through them as I usually do and even though I did have things to do, reveled in the relaxed pace of the day.
In the evening our house was soon humming with the cell group.
After dinner we relaxed into comfortable chairs and read Acts 17:1-9--all about Paul and Silas at a place called Thessalonica. It was interesting to dig a little behind the surface words and learn what would have happened in a synagogue on the Sabbath. The Shema was always recited--"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4) Next there would be prayers. There would be a reading from the law--the first five books of the Bible--and then a reading from the prophets, intended to illustrate the law--and a sermon. Usually a different person was invited to lead each week and it was customary for the synagogue leader to invite visiting rabbis to speak. Paul would have often had an open door to speak--which would slam shut as soon as he began to speak about Jesus.
In Thessalonica, Paul was invited to speak on three consecutive Sabbaths and the people there listened as with skill and wisdom he used the scriptures to establish the template for the Messiah--the Christ. The Messiah would have to suffer--but would rise from the dead. Perhaps he used the last few verses of Isaiah 52 and chapter 53, to create an empty puzzle space into which he finally placed Jesus of Nazareth. We read those verses too and talked about how the picture painted there was Jesus.
Like a key in a lock; a tongue in a groove--a hand in a glove--he fit perfectly. And many of the Jews, Greeks and noble women of high standing--suddenly saw the truth--believed the evidence and joined the rapidly growing church--just before the door of the synagogue slammed shut and a riot broke out.
We talked about our longing for opportunities to share with those around us and prayed for those we love who don't yet recognize or know him.
The second day was so good.
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for the gift of home. So often we are too rushed to enjoy it. I am so grateful for the simple joy of being home. I pray for those who have none--for whom the street is home--or those who languish in refugee camps-- Lord I pray that they too, would find home soon.
Acts 17:2-3 (New International Version)
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ[had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ he said.