St Matthews Digital
Women in the Bible
29 May 2022
Noticing the Slave Girl
Helen Jacobi looks at the unnamed slave girl in Acts 16:16-34
Rev Helen Jacobi
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Noticing the Slave Girl
Today, as we come to the end of our Easter season, we come to the end of the series of portraits from the book of a stories or snapshots of some of the people who made up the early Church community. Today's story is recorded to focus on Paul and Silas and the a dramatic exit from prison earthquakes and followed by the baptism of Jr.'s family.
It's quite a long story, 19 verses full of excitement and drama.
But I want to focus this morning on the beginning of the story and the slave girl who starts a little off.
Paul and his companions are still in the city of Philippine which was in Greece. And the righteous is one day as we were going to the place of prayer. We meet a slave girl who have a spirit of money, Just as an aside, I don't know if you noticed decided this week that here the writer of the book of Acts. Suddenly start saying, we rather than they apparently had this four times randomly from the book bags and don't, you know, why it stops being we, when they're in prisons, including the person writing didn't end up in prison, but but anyway, the girl there they are, describing is Young. She is a slave, and she has some kind of fortune telling.
And so I'm gonna make money for her. And then the writer goes on while she followed, she would cry out. These men are slaves of the most high. God, who proclaimed to you a way of salvation.
and so his team and each day this girl declares who they are now who'd information the most high God could have been describing a Roman god or put a be describing the one we think of as God it's not clear from the text what she means but she says these Nice plays almost. Hi.
And then that poor very much turned turned and said to the spirit I naught and the name of Jesus Christ to come out of him and it came out that very hour.
Supporters annoyed, sick of her Interruption every day, as it goes, past the same place and feels, she is possessed in some way and orders, the spirit. Now quite what that means, and our modern-day understanding. But of course, such actions were commonplace in the time of Jesus and I'm quite well documented.
And the road goes all the way of making money is gone. They seized Paul and Silas and drag them into the marketplace before the authorities and then sort of begin to the main part of the story. The prisoners of War.
but what if we stopped at, but when her owners saw that of making money was born, Now, I'm afraid to say, most of the commentaries I read about this, this week, praise Paul for free, the girl, and they assume that he is also freed her from slavery.
Cummings Mind by the power of Jesus Christ. Who told me it was turned to help her Slavery to Freedom.
It's not what it says in the text.
Can we not imagine? What would have happened to her as a slave if she no longer had the gift to owners or earning money off? Well, she might have been killed for one thing or certainly found yourself at bottom of the slaves picking water and her household no longer in favor with her owners.
The most known freedom for her.
Her story is silent in hidden behind the text, have to kind of dig behind the teague's to find it because we are as the poor who would later claim. There's no longer. Children course, labor, free male nor female for you are all one in Christ. Jesus quite there yet.
I listen to a really good podcast and Australian podcast for the final well. And they discuss the readings each week and this week one of the commentators Monica and the length on said, the school is a priest whose to all of us who Jean de, she's a preschool Mega slave for being possessed and she's exploited economically. So she kind of gets And yet she has a voice, she's not inhabitant, she speaks and does some days. She's shut down by Molina, thumb points out. That this girl is an example of by the prophet, Joel. And we'll hear job quotient next week for BT cast. Joel says, I will pour out my spirit on All Flesh, your sons and your daughter's shall prophesy, your old, I shall dream dreams and your young men shall see Visions even on the male and female slaves. In those days, I will pour out my spirit.
So, this girl had found her voice and she has spoken out.
And he was the one to shut her down.
Last week we heard the story and Lydia the wealthy businesswoman who Paul baptizes and woe comes into the church.
Lydia story is told in such a positive way.
But the unnamed slave doesn't get the same hearing.
Who in our minds the slave girl, stand aside.
Maybe school girls in Afghanistan who can no longer attend school or school children in the United States where I mean, guns is more important than protecting children.
Maybe she stands alongside young men and Russia forced to fight in the Ukraine.
Children in the Pacific, losing their homes to Rising Seas or children and how to your arm.
Maybe the slave, girl, stands beside people that we might disregard.
Who do we write off? Because they're different from us because we don't understand them. Who do we just miss school together in our lives as an algorithm or reading? With always to notice to stop and to see I guess we should be able to assure that your mistake. Then it's okay for us as well. We're standing in Good Company.
But how might we be able to listen to each other better? How can we as a society notice? Those while made visible and listen to them?
Today within our own Parish Community, we're undertaking and listening process and our session. We're going to have after the service. We're going to be structured into peers or threes and spend some time listening to How another person sees our Parish life.
We're gonna move forward some thoughts, but the most important thing really is listening. How does someone else? See our Parish Community. What can I hear and learn what assumptions? Might I make about the weigh-in.
And then you might like to think about your week ahead, who is there in your work? Team will family or other communities who might do better?
What makes things do? You need to go into and make a super-sized effort? Not to speak so that someone else can or if you're someone who doesn't speak up, normally, do you need to make the super-sized effort to speak up and to be who It's all booked for an invisible slave and listen to her.