How often have we heard of Paul's journeys and the places he visited - Philippi, Ephesus, Athens; the people he met - Lydia, the communities of Corinth and Galatia; and the experiences he had - great speeches in the city square, healings, imprisonments. But how often do we hear of the travels themselves - the long sailing over seas, the endless days of walking, the weary nights in temporary lodging?
Here is a tale of the journey over seas while he was captured, being transported to where he would eventually be imprisoned. The sailing was rough. The winds were against them. Though they could see the dangers ahead, they spoke with no voice - no one listened to their words of warning.
I think of the many times I've been on a life journey where the destination is either unknown or frightening. Many long hours have I spent worrying about the travel, the destination, the outcome of the trip. Those long hours, often in the middle of the night, can seem endless sometimes. But I also recognize that it is in those long hours of waiting, worrying, and wondering that I find time and space to be alone with my thoughts, and alone with God. It is there I can set aside the noise of the journey and listen quietly for the voice of God. It usually says, "Peace," and "Trust," and "Patience." If not for those long moments of waiting and wondering, I might never take the time to listen and obey.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 27:1-12
When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and allowed him to go to his friends to be cared for. Putting out to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. After we had sailed across the sea that is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind was against us, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Sailing past it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous, because even the Fast had already gone by, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. Since the harbor was not suitable for spending the winter, the majority was in favor of putting to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, where they could spend the winter. It was a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest.