July 23, 2021
11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Luke can be an odd writer sometimes. Three months have passed in the story with only the mention that they stayed three months, so for the winter. Then he gives us details, like the origin of the ship and tells us the figurehead is of Roman gods. Then we get to Syracuse for three days. We see them spend a week in Puteoli with some brothers and sisters, but no mention of anything said or done. They get to Rome and meet with more and only hear that Paul gave thanks to God and he was encouraged. He was then under a house arrest with one guard.
It reminds me of travelling; which Paul is doing here. There are many interesting things along the way, but most often we drive by and hurry to a destination. Then I did stop at the Corn Palace once. That was a waste of time. Also wasn’t impressed at Rushmore. But the things of trips that I remember most and were most meaningful were trips between here and Michigan we have at times stopped just south of London, Ontario. Spend part of a day with my Mom’s younger brother. The people along the way are more meaningful than the things we might see.
Luke found it important to mention the brothers and sisters meeting them along the way and the time spent with them. It was encouraging and brought relationship. They were not standing alone along this way to Rome. Others were with them, supporting them and praying for them. Never alone, but God put others along the way to go with them for a part of the journey. Others with them to encourage them as they go forward, having faith that God is with them always and seeing God with them in the faces of those who came to see them.
We don’t need to feel like we walk our life of faith alone. We can always stop by another’s home and see them. Some might appreciate a call first. We can always invite another to come by our home. We can have another out for coffee, or lunch, or just to sit in a park for a bit. There is a connection between us that brings encouragement in our faith. There is a blessing that we both give and receive when we sit with another in the joys and sorrows of life.
There is a sign in our house with a quote from Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister who ministered to children and families through the TV. In part it reads:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.”
O God of all creation, you alone are God. And you alone can satisfy our longing for a support that earth cannot give and that heaven will not take away. Help us, in recognition of our common dependence on you, to acknowledge our need of one another. Let the oneness of our lives make us one in love and service. Amen.