As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Acts 21:1-16 (NRSV)
When we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. When we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. We came in sight of Cyprus; and leaving it on our left, we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. We looked up the disciples and stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When our days there were ended, we left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the believers and stayed with them for one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea; and we went into the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, “The Lord’s will be done.”
After these days we got ready and started to go up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came along and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
Paul and his co-workers had made the decision to leave Ephesus and embark on the trip to Jerusalem. It was an emotional goodbye at Ephesus. Traveling in those days was nothing like today. There were no direct flights! It was transport by boat to one port, board a second boat to another port. While that might be a cumbersome way to travel, it was an opportunity to meet people and make connections. Those of us who have bussed, vanned, carpooled, and slept on too many fellowship hall floors know about the travel plans and the people that are met and become a lasting part of our life. Our leaving them is sometimes an emotional event, too.
While Paul’s group was staying for a bit in Caesarea, they encountered a prophet named Agabus. He came to them and showed them how Paul would be treated in Jerusalem. It wasn’t a pleasant picture. The group begged Paul to change plans, but he would not relent. Paul knew he was traveling the path of God for his life and remained committed. What decisions are we facing? What stands are we being called to make for the justice and peace and mercy of the kingdom? Being a witness for the kingdom, even in our own backyard, is not always easy. But, it can be done. It needs to be done. Despite the surroundings or what our landscape might look like, God is always with us. Think on these things and have peace.
Always moving and leading God, fill us with encouragement and with courage so that we will serve you above all else. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Go with God.