According to today’s reading from Acts, Paul is striking out on the way, he and his fellow missionaries, going wherever their little hearts desired. In their thinking, maybe they would go on to parts of western Asia Minor (what is modern day western Turkey) or possibly to the Asia Minor province of Bithynia (what is modern day northern Turkey on the Black Sea.) There wouldn’t be much risk involved in that. Each of these destinations would be familiar territory for Paul. He was from Tarsus in southern Asia Minor (southern Turkey) after all. So this would be safe and easy going. Better to enjoy. More likely to be successful as far as building churches goes.
At each crossroad along the way, Paul is redirected by the Holy Spirit. Like some supernatural gatekeeper, the Spirit forbids entry not once, but twice. Instead of western Asia Minor or Bithynia, the Spirit sends Paul and his companions on to Troas on the coast just across the Aegean Sea from Greece. It appears Paul was not to stay in the safe confines of the familiar. Paul would need to risk something, if he and the nascent church were to grow up.
I don’t know what the future holds for the mainline church. I don’t know what the future holds for Messiah Lutheran Church. What I do know is, God is calling us to stop getting used to the idea of being dead. God is calling us to believe in the resurrection and embrace the resurrection life. God is calling us to step out of the familiar places and ways and cross over from Asia Minor to Macedonia. God is calling us to risk for the sake of the gospel.
So, what do you say?
1 From The Lectionary Lab blog site