Listening Lydia

Stories We’ve Been Told 2.0

Acts 16:11-15

What if the story of Lydia isn’t about the BIG STUFF: she was the first European convert, the home of the Philippian church plant, a wealthy businesswoman who bankrolled Paul & Silas’ missionary journeys, who balanced career and home life and had authority over a household…

Perhaps her story, straightforward in the middle of all the chaos of Acts 16, invites us into the small moment that she listens, recognizes the movement of God, and responds faithfully with what she has? God’s Spirit stirs her heart and she says “yes” to God again.

The Spirit is at work in both miraculous big stuff and in ordinary stuff: in meeting to pray with friends, in opening your home to strangers, in asking “who is my neighbor?” and through our small steps of responding to God’s Spirit, the Spirit works and weaves and makes the big stuff happen.

I have an easier time imagining a person who worships God hearing a new word and saying “nope. I know what God is like, and that doesn’t fit.” But Lydia knows what Yahweh is about, and when she hears Paul and Silas talk about Jesus, recognizes “yes! of course that’s from You! You would…”

It’s like the worship song “Oceans” by Hillsong, and how the bridge has three different chord progressions underneath an identically repeated melody. If you’re not listening, you’d miss it – unless you know what to listen for.

Reflection questions: *How do you identify God’s voice? what do you recognize; what makes you go “there you are! of course you would…”  *What would help you to listen?  *What is God’s Spirit inviting you into?

*How has God been good – shown love – to you? How has God’s faithfulness not let you down?

“King of My Heart” by John Mark & Sarah McMillan

*What do the words ‘plans/control/surrender’ evoke in you? How have you understood them?  *Does the Shepherd described in this song resemble the God you know?  *Can you join/echo this song of praise today? Which words/phrases do you find yourself agreeing with and which are difficult?

“Shepherd of My Soul” by Rivers & Robots

*What was that experience of listening to God like for you?  *What did you notice?  *What might help you to “keep listening eagerly” to God?  *What is God’s Spirit inviting you into?

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