St. Paul a Lady's Man: Seasons
It’s Monday morning, the brisk night of early fall has broken into a frost covered morning and the grass crunches under my feet. Pumpkin spice lattes have returned though I’m on yet on another carb cleanse; summer has faded and harvest time is upon us and I am full awake to life lived in seasons. The earth, we’re told, spins on its axis, we watch the leaves bleed with gold and know time passes, people grow and we are ever so slightly altered by the unbroken turning of all. How is it then that we hold on when nothing stays the same? Too many conversations with loved ones of late, who say, “I never thought I’d find myself here,” reminds me that life continues to move, those things we thought were fixed can shift and the sandcastles we built only days before are washed away in the even’ tide.
Creation is fashioned around this balance of change, these shifts and turns, some bumpy, some silky smooth, as if the Creator knew our frailty, our need to reap and sow, to work and rest, to dance and to mourn. The sweet blessing of life then is to share this perfect madness with someone else; to hold hands and sing around the fires while they blaze, to offer a soft shoulder and sit together when the embers turn to ash.
She was there, standing with him through it all. Prisca and Aquilla, though she is always named first save two instances, were the faithful companions of Paul. Evicted from Rome by Claudius’ edict, they found their way to Corinth and in the Las Vegas of their day, Prisca and Aquilla had rolled the dice of fortune, hoping that in this place they could sell their leather tents and sandals, awnings and saddles to win back all they had lost. And then, one day-- they met him—the fire breathing, love singing, Jesus preaching, Hebrew ex-Pharisee called Paul.
Kindred spirits from the start, they were cut from the same cloth or the perfect compliments to the other at least because the witness of scripture is their lives were intricately woven together for the rest of their days. Prisca and Aquilla taught Paul to work with his hands, to sew leather and make goods, he taught them of Jesus, of miracles and ministry.
This life, following Jesus, serving alongside Paul would mean many other moves, a lifetime of change, seasons of good times and hard, uncertainty and persecution. From Corinth to Ephesus and back to Rome, Prisca and Aquilla would traverse the Empire steadfast in their mission. Pastors and church planters and seminary professors who counseled other leaders (Acts 18,21), Paul and the whole Gentile church calls them blessed. Paul says they, “risked their necks” for the Gospel sake (Rom. 16.3).
In the life of Prisca I find great inspiration to weather these ever changing days. She was a force to be reckoned with in the early church, rumored to have been the possible author of Hebrews and an unquestionable pastor and leader in the midst of the turbulence of the first century she remains constant, unshaken; for her friend and for the Gospel she risked.
For isn’t this the Gospel at its heart, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (John 15.13). So sip your pumpkin latte, walk outside and take in the breathtaking sight of a goldenrod moon, hold the hand of someone who loves you and know heaven’s gift is you are not walking alone.
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