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Lydia, Dorcas, Phoebe

January 27, 2021

“When Lydia and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.” Acts 16:15

Today the church commemorates Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, witnesses to the faith. These three women played a significant role in the life of the early church. Lydia and her household were the first converts of Paul at Philippi. Luke writes that “the Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly.” What she heard changed her life and, as the Lord opened her heart to the message of the gospel, she opened her home to Paul and his companions. As a dealer in purple cloth, she was likely a woman of wealth. As a new disciple, she would have used her worldly means for the sake of the gospel.

Dorcas (Tabitha in Aramaic) was a believer devoted to charity. She cared especially for widows, providing them with clothing. Luke writes that she became ill and died. Her companions knew, however, that Peter was in Lydda, close to Joppa. They sent for him. He spoke to the body: “Tabitha, get up.” Her resurrection was a tangible sign of the gospel, and many others came to faith.

Phoebe, mentioned in the final greetings in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, was a deacon at Cenchreae. Paul praises her generosity, for she had been a benefactor of many, including Paul.

There is no doubt that women were of great importance to the life of the early church, from Mary Magdalene the First Evangelist to these three women to the countless faithful disciples whose names were not recorded. Today, with the whole church, we give thanks for their witness.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of the church, thank you for the faithful witness of our foremothers in the faith. May we, inspired by them, faithfully support the work of the church and live as signs of resurrection hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Saint Tabitha (used with permission).

From → COVID-19

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