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Archive for February 22nd, 2019


Romans 1A Slave for Christ

Friday, February 22, 2019

Paul ruffled feathers as he moved about the Empire delivering the message of Christ.  As apostles we too can expect adversity.

Paul traveled approximately 10,000 miles in his journeys for Jesus.  As followers of Jesus cannot be timid about sharing our own story of Jesus as we too travel many miles.

Paul aggravated his political and spiritual leaders yet he helped a burgeoning Jewish sect establish a religion that would overtake the empire itself.  As Christians we too contribute to the flowering of Jesus’ message.

Membership in the early church was often more a liability than a boon since Christians were viewed as cannibals and participants in incestuous relationships. It is not until the beginning of the 4th Century (323 C.E.) that Christianity becomes an accepted form of worship.  As modern Christians we too may be viewed with skepticism, we too may wait long years before we are seen as the faithful.

Cult worship favored by most Romans was a very different spirituality from Christianity.  In the former, mortals serve whimsical gods; in the latter, a constant and faithful Living God dedicates himself to the care and protection of his creatures.  This Living God comes among his creatures to live as one with them while the Olympian gods tormented mortals.  Our petty gods continue to lure us from our true journey; they taunt us with the false promise of fame, fortune and power.

While we today may be haunted by the many small demons of status and superficiality, Romans believed in spirits who guarded rivers, woods, homes, and families.  Early Christians were consoled and counseled by the Holy Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit that brought unity out of God’ great variety . . . as the Spirit still does today.

Early Christians gather in Rome

Rome reaches out to connect England to Egypt, Spain to Syria; and this Roman world in which Paul lives and moves is a world of slaves and masters, poor and rich.  When Paul goes to Rome he enters the epicenter of the Mediterranean world . . . and all that he says and all he does speaks of Christ Jesus . . . as must we today.

Do we have the strength to stand up against the tide of the times?  Paul becomes a slave for Christ to do so. So must we.

Do we have the tenacity to persist in delivering a message the world does not want to hear? Paul suffers beatings, stoning, imprisonment and all forms of derision to do so.  So must we.

Do we trust enough in God to await the words of the Holy Spirit when we find ourselves confronted by overwhelming odds?  Paul becomes the ultimate apostle who sets self aside to live out the mission Christ gives him.  So must we.

Do we love God enough to see others as images of God?  Paul moves among the “unclean” gentiles as God asks of him to bring the Gospel story of freedom to all.  So must we.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, writes Paul.  Are we willing to confront gossip and lies; do we invite others to allow Jesus to enter their lives; do we pray for our enemies willingly?  Can we also say that we are not ashamed of the Gospel?  Are we willing to reject our petty gods of sleek cars, stock options, extravagant clothing, excess food, influence with power structures, and our dependence on ultra conveniences in order to share what we have with the poor? Are we willing to be slaves for the marginalized as Paul is?  Are we willing to decrease to nothing so that Christ might increase?

This is what Paul calls out to us today.  What is our reply?


For wonderful information on Christians in the Roman Empire, go to the public television site below.    We will find it well worth the time we invest; and we may learn something we did not know about St. Paul and his missionary journeys.   

A re-post from November 30, 2011. 

http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/christians.html

Images from: http://savingparadise.net/about/ and http://www.mitchellteachers.org/WorldHistory/AncientRome/BeginningsofChristianity.htm and http://hudsonfla.com/artchristian.htm and http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/timeline_09.html 

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