(UN)DISTURBED BY THE NEWS


Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three sabbaths he reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.’ And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, ‘These men who have upset/unsettled the world (οἱ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἀναστατώσαντες) have come here also, and Jason has received them; and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.’ And they disturbed the crowd and the city authorities who heard this.” (Acts 17: 1-8)

“The Jews” in this picture are accusing the Apostles of “unsettling the world,” (with an accusation of treason thrown in). These accusations “set the city in an uproar,” and quickly “disturb” the people and city authorities who heard them. But the only thing St. Paul did here, in Thessalonica, was to explain the Scriptures in a synagogue, persuading many to “join” him and Silas, not in any political uproar or uprising, but in faith in Christ. It is rather the opponents of the Apostles, and not the Apostles, who are “unsettled” and unsettling in this way. Nonetheless, the people and the city authorities are quick to lend an ear to, and get all riled up by, the “fake news” being spread against them.

This Monday morning let me lend an ear to the Scriptures, in some quiet-time with God’s word, before I turn to “other” news-sources. God’s grace-filled “news” strengthens and “settles” me in His truth, so I am not tossed to and fro by every “unsettling” voice of our 24/7 news-cycle. I don’t mean that I should (or could) stick my head in the sand, blocking out our this-worldly life and its complexities, nor do I mean that Truth entails inaction and indifference to all-of-the-above. But when I choose to be grounded in God’s wisdom, He walks me through the “unsettling” and the “disturbing” in His light-filled, cross-carrying Way. God, grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen!

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