Monthly Archives: May 2013


At our church on Sunday, I preached a sermon about the encounter between Paul and Lydia found in Acts, chapter 16. I described both of them as peddlers, which can describe both someone who sells goods door-to-door and someone who promotes a cause.

Paul was a well-known peddler of the Christian message, and he eventually encountered Lydia in Philippi after several attempts to go other places were blocked or denied. Rather than giving up when he faced adversity, Paul remained steadfast and continued traveling to tell others about Jesus.

St. Lydia

St. Lydia

Lydia also was a peddler – a purple peddler who apparently achieved success by selling highly-valued purple dye or purple cloth. Extracting purple dye from mollusk shells was difficult, and people were willing to pay high prices to attain it.

One Sabbath, while gathering with other women outside Philippi for prayer, Lydia met Paul, listened to his stories about Jesus, and became a follower of Jesus. She was baptized, along with her household, and, like Paul, she became a peddler for Jesus. Lydia appears to have been the first Christian convert in Europe, and her faithfulness to Jesus was deeply influential in the early church. Lydia offered hospitality to Paul, supported his ministry, received Paul and Silas after they were imprisoned, and hosted the Philippian church in her home.

Both Paul and Lydia were open to unplanned and unexpected possibilities that came their way. Surely neither of them could have imagined their meeting and their relationship as siblings in faith that would form. As they were peddling – going about their regular activities – they were open to new possibilities in life and ministry.

So, here is a question for you. As you proceed along your peddling paths, in what ways might you be faithful to opportunities that arise? If, like Paul and Lydia, you are open to unplanned and unexpected possibilities, where might you be led?

Mother’s Day Prayer

A Mother’s Day Prayermothers-day-flowers

Creator God, we come this day with a mixture of feelings.
Some of us arrive with smiles
remembering happy days with our mother
or by being remembered fondly by our children this day.

Some of us arrive with fake smiles
because inside we miss our mothers
or miss having a mother who loved and cared for us.

Some of us barely arrive at all,
tired from the demands of the week,
aware of the challenges ahead.

In these moments, we all arrive
and somehow present ourselves before one another and
most importantly before You,
the one who always seeks our good.

Like those who walked the Emmaus road and heard the words of the risen Christ,
we need a word from you, O God –
to be grateful for happy memories,
to realize that you grieve alongside us,
to remind us that your strength can carry us through rough days.

May we in our care for one another,
see you and know of your continuing,
creative presence in our lives.