Thought for the Day: For those who remember, the story of Lydia was the first sermon I preached when I returned from Greece last summer. One of the most impactful experiences was visiting the stream where Lydia and her family were baptized just outside of Philippi. There is a beautiful church on the site, and following a short visit inside, my two friends (Kelly and Kyle) and I walked down to the stream and stepped into the water. I pulled out my phone with my Bible App, and read this story as I stood in the brisk water. There are times when we can read the scriptures from the comfort of our home or church, and they speak clearly and powerfully. There are other moments when an opportunity arises that immerses us in the experience. Is the Spirit any more real in one or the other? I don’t believe so, but because we are creatures that receive information through our senses, standing in the cool water in that rich historic setting provided a near sensory overload. In this time when jumping in the car or on a plane and traveling somewhere is not an option, I have been using images, old photos and YouTube videos to take me places – a secondhand immersion. There is a plethora of opportunities at our disposal. I tell you this because one of the pictures I came across was that of my grandmother, a woman who did very little traveling in her life outside of visiting family. Yet she could tell you Bible stories with such detail – what the terrain was like, the temperature, even what vegetation you might see. It was a good reminder that we can immerse ourselves in the stories themselves and through our imagination (maybe some assistance from the Spirit), we can find ourselves in the story.
Prayer: Gracious God, use my knowledge, the tools at my disposal and the creativity of my imagination to transport me into the stories of the faith. Allow me to hear the conversations; to experience the emotion of the moment; to come alongside the Lydias of this world whose faith would even inspire someone like Paul. Amen.
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