Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sirach 41 – On Thoughts of Death: “O death, your sentence is welcome to a man in want, whose strength is failing, to a man worn out with age, worried about everything, disaffected and beyond endurance” (40:3-4).
But we should not fear death in any case. It is “the sentence passed on all living creatures by the Lord” (40:4).
Reputation: “Be careful of your reputation, for it will last you longer than a thousand great hoards of god. A good life lasts a certain number of days, but a good reputation lasts for ever” (41:12-13).
Sense of Shame: There are also many things it is right to be ashamed of: “licentious behavior” before your father and mother, of “wrong-doing” before a judge, of “impiety” before the people, etc, etc. (41:16-26). There are many details here but little profundity.
Sirach 42 – But there are also things to be glad of – being honest, making honest money, keeping firm discipline over your children, etc.
A father loses sleep over his daughter no matter what her stage in life is. A few nasty things are said about women.
Then he turns to the awesomeness of nature – God’s great work: “He has imposed an order on the magnificent works of his wisdom, he is from everlasting to everlasting, nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away” (42:21-22). It is the nature of all things from God that they “go in pairs, by opposites” (42:24).
Acts 20:1-12 – Paul leaves for Macedonia, going by land, I think. From Macedonia, where he spends three months, and he writes his Letter to the Romans. He wants to return to Syria by ship but he is convinced that a plot against him by the “Jews” makes an overland trip through Macedonia safer. He is accompanied by seven others from all over the region.
They go to Troas where they meet Luke again. Luke comes by ship from Philippi. The first day of the Jewish week had become the Christians day to assemble – but it began in Jewish tradition the evening before. Paul preaches a sermon that went on until the middle of the night (20:7). A young man named Eutychus was next to a window, grew drowsy and fell asleep, falling out of the window and down three floors. He seems dead, but Paul revives him. Then he continued his talk until daybreak.