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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



I felt a little familiarity while reading today's first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul and Silas are in jail when an earthquake strikes and frees them from their chains. Instead of walking out, they stay and speak the word of the Lord to the prisoners and the jailer. The jailer's family is baptized that night. And of course, Paul and Silas are invited into their home.

My husband, Cris, refers to this whole situation as if feeling like he is in jail. Now that some restrictions are lifted, like Paul and Silas, we are free to go out and dine, shop, get a haircut, or our nails done. But since the last time I was "free," the world has changed, and so have I. The virus caused us to reconsider many things, our health, our priorities, our values.

Paul and Silas are beaten and imprisoned because of their values. But their circumstances don't change their perspective; they find joy in serving the Lord. Even in jail, they are singing and praising the Lord in chains.

When the earthquake frees them, they could have walked out, but they knew the jailer would be held accountable. Instead, they stay and save not only his earthly life, but they save his soul and the souls of his family as well.

God can use anything to change our perspective. For me, the pandemic helped me to see that being home, in our sacred space, wasn't punishment; it has been a time to slow down, to focus, and prioritize the things I value most. Staying "in jail," the Lord has protected my earthly life and saved my spiritual life as well.

Be well, stay safe, and praise the Lord from wherever you are today.

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