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Easter 6



My name is Mother Victoria, and I am a curate serving in Redditch and it is a joy to share with you this Sixth Sunday of Eastertide.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

And with that rising, flows out an Eastering into the world, an unstoppable, undefeatable presence and power of life and hope.

It is the Spirit of Our Risen Lord in today’s reading from the book of Acts who draws Paul and his companions to Philippi with a plea that comes in a vision in prayer; a man from Macedonia, crying out for help.

A vision is a prayer of sharing, a seeing. When we pray, we enter into Jesus’ love; we are seeing through the eyes of his heart all that is held in that love and we are sharing in the aching love of his Spirit, but also in its power for life and hope.

And as the disciples respond to that love, in that power, the story telling shifts from ‘they’ to ‘we’. “We”, says the author, to us, make this journey. We are being drawn into an eye-witness account of a joint enterprise.

Because Jesus’ Spirit always turns ‘I’ into ‘We’

It is Paul’s custom to introduce himself to the leading men of the Jewish temple to preach his gospel, gathering resources and companions, but it seems Philippi is a city with little faith on the Sabbath day we are told there seems no temple to go to. Instead there is a gathering of women, down by the riverside.

Rivers flow at the heart of creation, guided by the Spirit who breathed on the waters of Chaos the ‘yes’ of Love. Later, however, the Jews hung up their harps by the Rivers of Babylon, and demanded ‘how could they sing their songs in a foreign land’.

There, down by the riverside we meet these women, keeping Judaism alive in Philippi, faithfully singing their songs, who are met this day by the ever creating ‘yes’ of the Love of God.

And, amongst them, we meet Lydia. St Lydia, to whom our Orthodox sisters and brothers give the title equal to the Apostles.

St Lydia, the successful business woman, St Lydia the feisty, St Lydia who becomes the first European Convert to Christianity. Just as the river Jordan saw the beginning of Jesus’ ministry at his baptism; so this river too becomes a beginning place; a place from which love outpours

In a beautiful re-working of the rich young man, who went away sad, Lydia, with the Spirit of Our Risen Lord in her, this wealthy independent businesswoman, is filled with joy, and is baptised with all her household (I long to know if that happens in that self-same river).

She throws open her heart and her home and all her resources to work with Paul to spread the love of Jesus. A risky, courageous act, but there, from the Spirit of all Surprises, are the companions, and the resources, that Paul needs to answer that vision crying for help in Macedonia and the scriptures tell us there is no stopping her.

How did this happen? Well the scripture tells us she sits at Pauls’ feet as he speaks of Jesus, and she listens - really listens.

That’s a risky courageous act too. When we listen - really listen - and open our hearts, Jesus comes and makes his home there, and where Jesus is, love and life will flow out. And there is no stopping it.

At times, we may feel weary, as we gather like those women, in a world that sometimes seems alien to us and to our song, but Jesus, the Water of Life, says to us ‘come to me and never be thirsty’ – he pours out on us, as on Lydia, his life-giving Spirit, welling up anew.

So, my sisters and brothers as we move through Ascension this coming week and look toward Pentecost, let us, with Lydia, go down to the riverside, to Jesus, the Water of Life in prayer. That the Holy Spirit will open our hearts with the ‘yes’ of Love, so that, together ‘we’ can sing a new song into the land. An Easter song of defiant hope, of undefeatable life, of love, justice and mercy, to respond to the cry for help we feel resounding around the world

Because Jesus’ love always turns ‘I’ into ‘we’… and there is no stopping it.

St Lydia, pray for us.


  1. Paul sets off for Macedonia in response to a vision and is surprised by the way it unfolds. How ready are we to embrace our visions, to dream dreams and to act on them and how ready are we to have those dreams re-shaped as we travel through them?
  2. The women in this story gather outside the city gates and it is there that Paul finds these people, longing, seeking, and keeping the faith. He sits down with them to teach, and finds himself learning. Where are today’s gatherings, who is seeking and where must we go and sit together and learn and talk together? How willing are we to be surprised by what we find?
  3. Lydia is a feisty and faithful woman, and without her Paul would have had great trouble sharing the faith in Europe. Acts is full of women who are named as being key to faith in the early church – Rhoda, Tabitha, Eunice, Priscilla, Mary and others. How well do we think our church and society today reflects this balance? How well do we continue to give space to the voices of women and recognise their faithful and groundbreaking ministry? What is the balance in our leadership roles in individual church families and across the Body of the Church? How open are we to taking risks, and to hearing unusual voices – and being challenged and growing together?
  4. Lydia embraces both listening and acting. Her acting flows from her listening. Do we need to reflect on the balance we have in both listening and receiving with humility, and acting with decision and power, trusting in the Holy Spirit, and excited by her?
Page last updated: Monday 9th May 2022 10:32 AM
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