In our Bible Challenge readings, we have just finished the book of Acts. The last two chapters talk about Paul making the grand journey from Jerusalem to Rome, and the shipwreck in Malta. The last time I read the whole chapter was some years ago, but I was struck by where Paul landed before making the land journey to this city in which I now reside. Paul and his companions landed at Puteoli, or as it is known today, Pozzuoli, on the north end of the Bay of Naples.
The last time I read this, I had no context in which to reflect on the landing point. However, I have now been to Pozzuoli myself. In fact, it served as our port of departure the Monday after Easter when I set out with Jill and Tia Kim to visit Ischia. The city was much like any port city, but once we got onto the ferry and in the water, the views were unique and stunning.
Today after finishing chapter 28, I kept thinking about what St. Paul must have felt when seeing the shoreline of Pozzuoli. He knew his final destination was still an overland trip away, but he also must have had an inclination that he might never set foot in a boat, or be tossed by the waves, again. The water is so blue and majestic in the Bay…I can imagine him peering into the azure mirror and considering just how far he had come in such a short time. From zealous persecutor to convicted evangelist…what a turnaround.
As we get ready to delve into his own words, the letters he wrote to the churches and communities he loved, prayed for, and sought to build up, I am hoping that we here in the church named after him might be open to such a radical conversion as he experienced. I am praying that the deep waters, those that bore him finally to shore in Pozzuoli, and the waters of baptism which brought him from death to life might carry us along in this new season.