Traveling on

3 Mar

Important Events in Early Church Large Map

Good morning,

This passage from Romans (from The Message) gives Paul future travel plans.  I know I usually read these types of passages and just nod my head with no idea of the geography that is really involved.  The insert map should give you some idea what Paul is planning.  Biblical scholars believe that the letter to the Romans was written in Corinth (center left) and is planning to go to Rome (far left), but first is is going to Jerusalem (bottom right).  He does have the Mediterranean Sea to travel on, but certainly he does not have a cruise ship!

22-24 And that’s why it has taken me so long to finally get around to coming to you. But now that there is no more pioneering work to be done in these parts, and since I have looked forward to seeing you for many years, I’m planning my visit. I’m headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God’s blessing.

25-29 First, though, I’m going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the followers of Jesus there. The Greeks—all the way from the Macedonians in the north to the Achaians in the south—decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, but it was also their duty. Seeing that they got in on all the spiritual gifts that flowed out of the Jerusalem community so generously, it is only right that they do what they can to relieve their poverty. As soon as I have done this—personally handed over this “fruit basket”—I’m off to Spain, with a stopover with you in Rome. My hope is that my visit with you is going to be one of Christ’s more extravagant blessings.

Paul’s travel not only brought the grace of God’s message embodied in Jesus Christ, but also relief funds from one part of the church to the other.  This letter is written just 20 to 30 years after Jesus death and resurrection.  The church in Jerusalem was the starting place of the spiritual revolution of the Divine began through Jesus AND the place of greatest persecution in the early church.  So, Paul bring back a donation from the churches that were founded because of the work of the believers in Jerusalem.

So now I think, what am I planning to do to spread the Message of God’s good news?  What are you planning to do?  We could say that we are not missionaries as Paul was. . . or that was a long time ago and we don’t do those sorts of things any more. . .  or that we have other work to do. .  .   Yet, aren’t there people who need to hear good news, or just need  a listening ear, or just need a prayer.

30-33 I have one request, dear friends: Pray for me. Pray strenuously with and for me—to God the Father, through the power of our Master Jesus, through the love of the Spirit—that I will be delivered from the lions’ den of unbelievers in Judea. Pray also that my relief offering to the Jerusalem believers will be accepted in the spirit in which it is given. Then, God willing, I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart, looking forward to being refreshed by your company. God’s peace be with all of you. Oh, yes!

I think Paul is right; praying is the best way through.  Pray strenuously with and for me; that we will continue on the path of living the Good News of God, traveling in the Divine Presence.  St. Frances’ words often come to mind, “Preach the gospel at all time and when necessary use words.”

Blessings on your day,

 

Mary

 

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