January 27 is the commemoration of Lydia, Dorcas and Phoebe by many churches including my own. I noticed this in the bulletin insert on Sunday and realized I didn’t know much about these three women. How much do you know about these women of faith?
Lydia – Act 16
· First convert in Macedonia
· Women had more freedom in Macedonia than in other parts of the Roman Empire so it is not surprising she was an independent and successful business woman.
· Seller of purple – her region was known for its purple dye. Purple dye, made from a certain mollusk, was extremely expensive. One use of it was for the stripes in the togas of Roman senators. Lydia’s occupation suggests that she had considerable capital
· Later sponsor of Paul and the Philippian church in her own home implying wealth and influence.
· Peter brought her back to life
· She is called a disciple and is seen as always doing good and helping the poor
· Her death deeply affect those around her – imagine what her witness was after being made alive again by Peter!
Phoebe – Romans 16 – name means “radiant”
· She was a leader in the church in Cenchrea, a town about seven miles fro Corinth. where she helped Paul significantly
· Paul called her “our sister” in his letter to the Romans. Phoebe probably carried the letter with her to Rome
· Paul described her as a servant of the church, possibly a deaconess
Though the words describing the lives and faith of these women are few and from ancient times, they continue to guide us as co-workers in the work of the Church, illustrations of compassion and in using one’s gifts and role models for women in business, social ministries and church leadership.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller
If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out. Arthur Koestler
Boldness is a word that God has placed in my heart this year. Ponder these bold women of faith – asking yourself what role is God calling you to?