Scripture Reading: Acts 19:1-7
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ — Acts 19:1-4
I had the joy of visiting Ephesus last summer. I remember feeling like I was walking with Paul through the book of Acts as I wondered with my group among the ruins. Christians did not have their mighty cathedrals when the story of Acts was being played out. The grand artifacts were in celebration of Greek and Roman gods. There were only small hints here and there of even the existence of the Christian faith. It is no wonder that the new converts were trying to get a handle on what baptism was and who all the new characters—John and Jesus and the Holy Spirit—were. They were also more acquainted with gods that could be etched or carved in stone in larger than life forms not a sole God that only wanted to love to be loved in return, and for God’s followers to love each other.
While our world has changed greatly in 2000 years, much is still the same for people. We do not call them gods but we worship things like money and power that enchant us with their trappings but are in the end as worthless as the once grand, but now broken, eroding statues that I saw in Ephesus. Albeit these items of art do have worth in that they illustrate well how great empires can rise and fall, and teach us that we need to seek what is truly valuable.
God’s love is truly valuable. God’s plan of love being inclusive among all God’s children is valuable. Living life in relationship with God the Creator, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our Advocate is actually all that really matters. Everything else falls into proper alignment when we make that choice.
Prayer: Lord, today I renew the choice I made to live in relationship with you. When I am tempted to move away from your love, help me not to stray. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.