Monday of the 6th week of Eastertide

Acts 16:11-15; Psalm 149:1-6,9; John 15:26-16:4

We find ourselves today at Philippi, a town noted for trade. It was probably thus a melting pot of different societies, beliefs and practices. It seems that Judaism had not established itself there, as if there were a temple, surely Paul and companions would he visited it on the Sabbath? It required only a community of ten men, to be able to establish a temple - this number is the minimum requirement for orthodox Jewish ritual to this day.

A detail of some note is that the apostles spoke with the women gathered at a customary meeting place. A revolutionary act in the context of the times as most women would simply have been expected to follow the religious beliefs of their husbands or fathers. As this was by a river, it is likely that baptisms conveniently took place there. Lydia, of some prominence in the community (she was a merchant for purple dyed cloth, the material of emperors and high office, which was made with one of the most expensive materials known at the time) was likely to have been rich. Her household therefore would probably have swamped out the small number of local Jews, and she may will have influenced many other Gentiles to join the new church.

A little like with Jesus, first talking to Mary Magdala in the garden, Paul first spoke with the women of Philippi. The Philippians came to be the starting point of the spread of Christianity in the Roman empire - it was at Philippi that they first become known as 'Christians'.




Posted in Daily Reflection.