Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 21: Year 2
“And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air, the tribune directed that he was to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by flogging, to find out the reason for this outcry against him.” (Acts 21: 23 and 24)
The momentum of the crowd began to control the tribune and his centurions. They were having a tantrum, just as a child would do in a supermarket when he or she does not get their way. The shouting and throwing off their cloaks does not say much for me, but tossing dust into the air is weird. Did they not know that what goes up, must come down? But more than that, I have crafted an acronym from the word dust. It is, “Don’t unnecessarily share thoughts” or DUST. I have witnessed people that I liked get fired because reporters asked them what they thought and as a result, they were fired. This was sad. Paul also gets in trouble for what he both thinks and believes. I think we all have a right to think or believe what we want. We are all evolving. What we think today, maybe totally different next month or next year. The same is true for what we believe.
We ponder about things and we evolve. Yes, we have fits about things that we don’t like and it indeed may cause us to shout and throw clothing. But, for the most part, we get over it or, we do something positive about it. I would be careful about what we throw into the air however. It’s going to come back down. But also, we must be careful and “DUST” even when asked sometimes. Because sometimes, it’s a trap. They tried to trap Jesus, and now they are trying to trap Paul.
The other problematic piece in this reading is the examination by flogging? Sounds like the witch hunts, you can’t win. You just keep getting beat until you say what the oppressor wants to hear, truth or not. Paul was a natural born citizen of Rome. Not even the Tribune was a natural citizen, he paid for his citizenship. They had to back off when finding out that he was a Roman citizen. Apparently there were harsh consequences for harming a Roman citizen.
Our flogging today is more metaphorical. We are challenged with day to day fear of the pandemic. At this writing I am informed that our President, Donald J. Trump, has contracted COVID 19. Racial troubles still persist throughout a few major cities of this country. Overwhelming fires are still happening on our West Coast. Yes, we are being examined by flogging; and it hurts. But Paul has set us a good example; we must persevere no matter what. Be steadfast in faith.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John