We spent last Sunday in Philippi (Acts 16), watching how the gospel turned upside down the lives of Lydia, a slave girl, and a Roman jailer. In preparing for the sermon, I wrote this poem as an overflow of wonder at the story of the jailer in particular.
“Midnight in Philippi”
by Andy Sabaka
See the moon shine down at midnight
On the shackled figures of Silas and Paul.
Listen along with their fellow prisoner
As songs of praise warm the cold walls.
Feel the earth shake the prison’s foundations,
As bonds are broken and doors swing wide.
Wake with the jailer to the midnight miracle,
Fearfully drawing a sword from his side.
Hear Paul scream out, “Don’t harm yourself,”
Every prisoner is still in his place.”
See the flames ignite narrow hallways
And the fear on the jailer’s pale face.
Watch him fall down to the ground before Paul,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Rejoice that faith in Jesus the Christ
Releases those who by sin were enslaved.
Weep with joy as this new brother in Christ
Gently washes Paul and Silas’ sores.
Shout with delight as Paul baptizes this man
In the name of the God who restores.
Taste the meal spread by the jailer’s own hand,
As he invites prisoners with him to dine.
Sit down at the table with all of God’s children,
As Jesus passes the bread and the wine.