Such a pity that the lectionary begins in the middle of a paragraph: so that we miss the sense that many doors had been closed to them and they were really at the end of knowing what to do when the call to Macedonia came.
It is interesting to read of this crossing from (what is now) Turkey to (what is now) Greece when in our time many are trying to make a similar crossing. But clearly the lectionary would like us to concentrate on what happens in Philippi.
There is no synagogue in this Roman colony in Macedonia. But outside the gates by the river women meet to pray. Can faith get more marginalised than that? The place, where they pray, is on the margin but also on the threshold; a place that might be called liminal, where change is possible. And change there is.
The cosmopolitan woman from Thyatira in Turkey, dealer in purple, becomes the first recorded disciple of Jesus in Europe. She is ‘faithful to the Lord’. Again the story starts with women, just as by the empty tomb. I wonder whether she became the leader of the church in Philippi.
1 May 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.