Saints and Holy People
‘Saints In the early Church’
Sunday 26 October, 2014
THE SAINTS WHO WELCOMEI commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.(part vss 1-2)
When I last filled in a job application form, I had to find two referees to speak up for me: people who knew me both professionally and at a personal level, who could convince a future employer of my undoubted ability, skills and personal qualities!
In the ancient world we find something similar. In the rubbish dumps of Egypt, preserved in the desert sand, are papyrus letters of commendation that would be carried and used when required. Here Paul performs a similar service for Phoebe, who lived in Corinth. He paints a wonderful picture of a generous saint who had helped so many in the church, including himself, and who is travelling to Rome.
‘Welcome her, as you would welcome any member of God’s family!’ says Paul to the churches in Rome.
I have a friend called Douglas who deserves a gold medal for welcoming. When Douglas greets you it’s as if he’s known you for years, and if you return the following week he will continue the conversation you have just had.
I don’t know any saints with shining halos round their heads. Most of the ones I have encountered have been like Douglas, ordinary people getting on with serving Christ in the world, and that’s the definition I’m using in this week’s notes.
Prayer † God of grace, accept the offering of our lives, and the talents you have given us, in the service of your kingdom. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.