Acts 19:18-41

Today’s devotion is written by Suzanne Gifford.

Listen to: “Alleluia” by Elaine Hagenberg, here.

Paul’s journey to Ephesus, preaching The Way, is met with success in
these verses, as well as with discord. Ephesus, the site of the temple of the
goddess Artemis, was a destination for those who came to worship her.
Local artisans who made their living creating and selling silver shrines of
Artemis, were stirred to angry action when they learned of the possible
impact of Paul’s influence. The tradesmen feared that Artemis would be
discredited, and that their livelihood, making silver images, would be taken
away. A long and angry riot ensued, with great confusion. Verse 32 tells us
many did not even know why they were there.

Finally, the town clerk was able to settle the crowd and convince them to
take their complaints to the court.

My initial response to this somewhat confusing passage brings to the fore
lots of questions. As Christ followers, what are our shrines? Our idols? Of
course we all have them, these physical “things” we covet, purchase, drive,
wear, etc. Do they keep us from living fully what we say we believe?

This past week was a rich and affirming time with my family—husband, kids
and their spouses, grandkids. An old rambling house located by a tide pool
near Bar Harbor, Maine, afforded opportunities to “be still and know God,”
even for short periods of time. Most of the time was busy and raucous, but
those few snatches of quiet in that glorious natural setting were infinitely
precious. Backing up to vs 32 of our scripture, I wonder if much of the
hectic time in our daily business, we don’t even know why we are there?

Perhaps reflection on such questions can help us clarify our faith, and how
we live with that faith as our guiding light.

What are your thoughts, comments, questions?

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