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A Little Time in the Forum

A Little Time in the Forum

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best… (Philippians 1:9-10).

Use your imagination and go back to this time in history: you are standing in the Forum in Rome. This is where it all took place in those days: fancy shopping, important speakers calling out the latest ideas or announcing the most recent events of the empire. The street you stand on is called the Via Appia, or Appian Way, the most famous street and Roman imperial highway. Notice that paralleling the Via Appia is Palatine Hill, the palatial living space of the emperors and, in those days, home to Nero.[1] Imagine when this marketplace would have been jammed with crowds, orator’s calling attention to the relevant causes of the day, senators debating, soldiers marching, shoppers negotiating—all moving through the imperial magnificence of Rome’s centerpiece. And imagine also the early Christians, people like you and me, conducting business, paying bills, buying groceries, and carrying on with daily life.

Building on this visualization, spend time thinking how our scripture for today translates from those early Christians’ devotion to your own devotion, love, and insight. Live today recognizing that we are continuing the legacy of those early Christian ancestors. The same human struggles they wrestled with remain with us. See yourself as a Christian brother or sister working in tandem with them, connected over the centuries in faithfulness and love. Now, go through the day today with renewed strength for what lies ahead.

Now consider the second part of the verse:

… with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best… (Philippians 1:9-10).

It is significant that the love hoped for should be overflowing with knowledge and full insight. This just doesn’t happen for most of us, at least not often. But it is what we, as God’s children, strive for.

In addition today, imagine yourself growing in wisdom, gaining new insights, adding to your knowledge, expanding your understanding, broadening your perspective. Now consider how you can turn that image into reality. Be bold in learning new things about life and faith. For Paul, it is knowledge and insight that serve as the bedrock of love. And it is this kind of love that will help you to determine what is best for you, for family, for all.

 

 

“When you know better, you do better.”

—Maya Angelou

 

[1] The ruins of those former palaces are still being unearthed and examined, as are the countless other ruins of Rome’s former glory lining the Forum.