Today we will go to Philippi where Paul baptized the first Europeans (Lydia followed by the Jailer)

Acts 16:9-10 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

This is the action which sets in motion Paul’s journey to Philippi and other cities in Greece. 

Read Acts 16:11-40 and Philippians (four, short, chapters)

Philippi was a colony of Rome and a tax haven for citizens.  Retired military seemed to like it there and agriculture was a strong part of the economy there (as well as worshiping Silvanus, Roman god of the countryside and agriculture). Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a classic in Greek rhetoric in terms of its structure.  Its themes are focused on living according the Gospel of Christ and the paradox of human responsibility in view of God’s work in us, as well as the paradox of joy and suffering, something that would probably resonate well with battle-hardened, retired, military men. 

But it was a woman who gets Paul’s attention at Philippi, Lydia.  She was “a seller of purple goods.”  It is believed this was a way to indicate she was wealthy and successful as purple was a difficult color to dye and make color-fast and one who was able to make a name trading in such goods, indicated hers were of known quality.  This would make her products suitable for the wealthy and the ruling class.  Of course, preaching about Jesus got Paul in trouble and he was jailed.  But, by the work of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s jailer was even converted.  So, in the city of Philippi, it was demonstrated that salvation through Christ was for all; not just the rich or just the poor.

We pray:

Heavenly Father, as we tour Philippi, home to Lydia and the jailor who imprisoned Paul, let us see all people in our lives as those with whom you want us to share the Good News.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.