And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another… (Hebrews 10:24-25)
No one knows who wrote the New Testament book called Hebrews. The King James Version of the Bible calls it a letter, but most scholars these days consider it a sermon with a personal note added at the end. And throughout the centuries, a few scholars have attributed it to Paul, but most have doubted that. Martin Luther thought the writer might have been the eloquent Apollos (see Acts 18:24-38). Other scholars nominate Paul’s companion Barnabas or Paul’s friends Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:2-3).
We’ll never know, at least not this side of heaven, but personally, I like to imagine that Apollos wrote it with help from Priscilla and Aquila. Remember, Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, were the ones who invited Apollos into their home after he had revealed in his preaching–powerful though it was–that his knowledge of Christ was incomplete. They lovingly taught him what he needed to know, and that made his ministry all the more effective (see Acts 18:27).
I like to imagine Apollos dropping in to show his old teachers his notes for the sermon we now call Hebrews, and Priscilla saying, “Very nice, brother Apollos, but remind them to love one another and to do good things for people. Phrase it however you like, dear Apollos, but it needs to be in there! It’s important!”
Tirelessly, generously, lovingly, Lutheran women provoke one another to do good deeds for people close to home and around the world.
Tirelessly, generously, lovingly
Now, two thousand years later, the words I’m imagining on Priscilla’s lips surely resonate with us, because that’s how we Women of the ELCA live. Tirelessly, generously, lovingly, Lutheran women provoke one another to do good deeds for people close to home and around the world. And we encourage people, too, just as the inspired text says. Well done, you good and faithful servants!
What loving good deeds do you and the other women in your congregation do? How do you encourage others to do the same? How does it feel to do that?
Audrey Novak Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA. Photo by Elizabeth McBride of Lynn Istwan, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Mt. Prospect, Ill., and Desiree Wynn-Cole, former executive board member, at National Quilting Day 2019.
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