Paul writes these words to Philemon, a “dear friend and co-worker,” about Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. In what ways are we being like Philemon—ignoring social change we could help enact? In what ways could we be like Paul, bending, step-by-step, the social arc of our society toward equality and justice for all? In what ways…
As the only Philippian convert named in Acts, Lydia was quite possibly the leader and patron of the Philippian church. She used her wealth to establish the community, she risked her reputation as a businesswoman to house foreigners released from prison, she sanctified her conversion with acts of radical hospitality.
The eunuch moves from questioning to a sense of awe, excitement, wonder, and maybe even a bit certainty. “Look there is water! What is to keep me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:37). The answer is nothing—not his status, not his questioning, not even his position in society as a sexual minority.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego exemplified courage as they walked with the presence of God among the flames. Their trust in God overcame the human tendency to fear.
Luke could have easily left Anna out of the story. But she leans in—from the margins, from the shadows, from the edges of the scene to approach her newborn king.