These words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain may be another reason why Paul and Silas are singing in their prison cell. Even though they are incarcerated, they rejoice because at least they have made the right people angry: the slave owners, the greedy, the corrupt, the shallow. In this sermon, Jesus says we shouldn’t be surprised that such people will hate you when you call them out or obstruct their greed. They will not understand you or your motivation, Jesus says, but do not worry too much about it. They didn’t get the prophets either. In fact, rejoice in it.
Paul and Silas’ ability to host a hymn sing in a jail cell may have everything to do with their perspective. While their circumstances may not look like they are “winning,” they know that they are part of God’s bigger work in the world. Some days there will be dramatic shows of power, like the earthquake shaking the prison doors open. Other days, though, there will be smaller victories that no one really sees—the quiet sharing of goods, a changed heart, someone lonely being included. These are what my chaplain friend calls “kingdom moments,” not because they are grandiose but because they are small shifts in the status quo that are part of a bigger reality coming to pass in God’s time.
Who is someone you admire for taking a stand against corruption, greed, or injustice? What do you think sustains them and keeps them working for good?
God, may I recognize and celebrate your “kingdom moments” no matter how small they may seem, knowing that they are part of your vision. Amen.