A Woman from Thyatira

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia…” – Acts 16:9

“A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira…” – Acts 16:14

I’ve got to hand it to you, Paul.
Some of us struggle with visions.
It’s hard to believe God’s directions sometimes.
“Go here! No, not there. I mean here, over here!”
It would be clearer if God didn’t
use pronouns alone.

But you saw a man from Macedonia.
(I’ve always wondered: how did you know?
Was there a look in the eyes? Or a pattern
of jewelry? Or an only-in-Macedonia,
for-a-limited-time-only, get-it-now haircut!)
You saw him. You said: “Let’s go.”

So far, so good. If my sense of God’s spirit
were only so clear as to know which “there”
was “here.” But “Come to Macedonia!
Enjoy the sun! See the crowds!
Hang out by the river and help us!
Bring the word!” That even I understand.

Now here is where I really hand it
to you, Paul. For there by the river
in Philippi, leading city of the district,
you found no men of Macedonia,
but women. And their leader Lydia –
was from Thyatira, near where you’d just been.

God’s visions can blind us, you know,
when we read them as anything
other than metaphor. You met a woman
from Thyatira in Asia, not a man
from Macedonia, and you recognized
God’s promises fulfilled in her.

A poem/prayer based on Acts 16:9-15, the Revised Common Lectionary First Reading for Year C, Sixth Sunday of Easter.

The image is Lydia of Thyatira by Harold Copping – https://www.meisterdrucke.de/künstler/Harold-Copping.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84021913.

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