Thursday, 29 March 2012

36. Lydia - church in your home.

I wanted to call our first baby Lydia, but it was a boy, and by the time we'd had a girl we'd assembled other choices, chiefly Kezia, Eve, Susannah and other unusual female biblical names (we had a short 'Camilla' phase but mercifully that passed...)

I've never really had a purple phase, though I do love the Jenny Joseph poem, 'When I am an old woman I shall wear purple' - hopefully there'll be a little bit of time left for that...

Lydia was a 'dealer in purple cloth' who happened to be out one day when the apostle Paul was looking for a place of prayer on the Sabbath. I'm presuming he was after Jewish men with whom to share the way of the Lord, but he found only women gathered by the town river (Acts 16:13).

Paul spoke; Lydia listened. 'The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message', we are told. And the next verse has her whole household baptised and Paul and his fellow worker, Silas, invited to Lydia's house.

I normally spend a bit longer on baptism preparation to be honest; but I guess if you have just seen the light and are sitting by a large river...

In a lovely little addendum to this pearl of a story, after Paul and Silas have been beaten for sharing their faith, they are asked to leave the city and they find shelter...guess where? In the home of Lydia, where a thriving little house church has taken shape.

Can we please give all our lovely Anglican church buildings over to a sympathetic, wealthy British HeritageTrust thingy and go back to meeting in homes for fellowship, prayer, teaching and breaking of bread?


Oh, alright then...

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