Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paul and Rae in parallel worlds

Woke up from an intense dream about accidentally taking off in a rocket ship that landed in a parallel world (thanks, Fringe and Sliders!). Flipped open my new testament and came upon this passage from Acts:
"I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you have concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God's purpose.  
"Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock... I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering that night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace... 
"I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the word of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.'"
When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms around Paul's neck, and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
Parallel worlds get poignant when you find that you can't get back home. St. Paul senses he was never getting back to Ephesus, once he set his face towards Rome. I find it poignant that it's exactly at this point in the text that Acts switches from third person singular to first person plural. It raises the hairs on the back of my head at times like this, going so quickly into that transition into the more personal narrative. I think it adds to the poignancy that Acts never finishes Paul's story. His fate in that parallel world sitting right on top of the kingdom for which he lived and died is, appropriately, silent.

1 comment:

Margaret Kerry, fsp said...

Great reflection. The kingdom - here and not yet.