The Woman in Purple (or Acts as a Movie)

Acts 16:9-15 – The 6th Sunday of Easter – for May 1, 2016

“One of those women was Lydia, a Gentile God-worshipper from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in purple cloth.” (Acts 9:14)

PurpleWeave
A dealer in purple cloth . . .

They met down by the river, some Jews, a handful of Gentiles, and the usual suspects from other places beyond the city of Philippi.

Paul, with Timothy and Silas, ventured to the riverbank. It was Friday, the Sabbath. According to the 16th chapter in Acts, they’d been in Philippi only a few days. Their visit to this strange-to-them speck on the map of Rome’s empire was inspired by a vision Paul had one night.

In the vision a man of Macedonia urged Paul to come and help.

To bring the good news of Jesus?

To bring the good news of Jesus!

And so a dream with a mysterious man from a faraway locale compelled these spirit-fed, God-led disciples of Jesus to venture into the unfamiliar. They chose to trust a midnight hint, a divine nudge, a vision that lingered after waking.

Sometimes that’s enough. Continue reading →

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Mi Casa Es Su Casa

Acts 16:9-15 – The 6th Sunday of Easter – for Sunday, May 5, 2013

“A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us…” (Luke 16:14)

The Gangitis River, in the district of Macedonia
The Gangitis River, in the district of Macedonia

Along the banks of the Gangitis River, in the district of Macedonia, a certain woman named Lydia heard Paul’s first-century message about the good news of Christ Jesus.

Soon after, Lydia and her household were baptized.

Which made her, based on the stories shared in the Acts of the Apostles, the first woman baptized on the European continent.

In Acts, Lydia spoke a singular sentence:

If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.

At the end of the 16th chapter of Acts, the only chapter in the New Testament where her name appeared, she was referenced once more. Following a brief stint in the local slammer, Paul and his companions beelined for Lydia’s home. Then, after an interview or two by eager Macedonia-based reporters, an update of his blog and Facebook page, Paul and his buddies skedaddled from Phillipi.

Lydia was never heard from again. Like Tabitha (also a woman named in Acts), she was a charter member of the club of obscure New Testament women. We know little about Lydia, other than she was . . .

  • A woman
  • In Macedonia
  • A seller of purple cloth
  • Wealthy (or indebted) enough to have a household
  • Someone who met Paul
  • Baptized

And, with apologies to everyone else that speaks better Spanish than me, her singular statement was a variation of: Mi Casa Es Su Casa.

My home is your home.

I assume Lydia’s life changed for the better, but that is only and forever an assumption. After all, she left the story.

I assume Paul’s encounter with Lydia influenced his life for the better, but that is only and forever an assumption. After all, she’s only mentioned in chapter 16 and doesn’t appear among the friends and co-workers listed in the letters attributed to Paul.

It’s easy and fun to play a “what if” game about Paul and Lydia: Continue reading →

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