The trouble with Philippi – the tour continues (p6)

by Craig on March 8, 2011

We’ve been following Paul’s footsteps as he first met the city of Philippi.

First we hiked our way to town and, then we “oohed” and “ahhed” at the theater inside. (here) Then we took a quick look about at the surroundings (here) and soon headed into the slums – where almost all of our future church were living. (here and here) Then we noticed how status-y these people were. (here)

Yesterday we began a little historical fiction (here), and today that fiction continues. You kind of need yesterday’s “part one” of the story for today’s “part two” to make sense.

If you haven’t read that,

I’d go there before reading further



…The leader of the group violently shoves the wife across the room with no effort at all. Her white linen dress gets caught in a saw blade and tears. He leers at her.

The carpenter is in the back working on something and doesn’t know what’s happening – yet. But his teen-aged son isn’t about to stand for this. He defends his mother against ten men twice his size.

Soon he’s being tossed around between the thugs like a ragdoll. He’s thrown into the tools, and finally shoved outside.

Now, the carpenter hears the ruckus. He runs out, hammer in hand. He sees the torn dress, stained with more than a small amount of blood.  She nods in the direction of the son in the street. He follows her signal to see his son being beaten by two of the men.

He immediately runs to help,  but is bent in half by a club to the stomach.

A few hold back the wife, and the other smaller children.

Then three of them pummel the carpenter to his knees and then pin him to the ground. While the remaining men ransack the store.

“So you like this piece of wood?” Says the leader, waving the carpenter’s cross about, like a bird in the air.

The beating stops long enough for the carpenter to say, “…the sign of my God…the only true God.”

“Interesting.” replies the lead thug, “and you made it with these hands?”, pointing the cross at the fingers of the carpenter which are now pinned down on the dirt floor.

Before an answer can be uttered

the base of the cross crashes down

with the force of a sledge hammer

on one hand,

then the other.

All this has happened in just a few minutes and now Roman soldiers are marching toward the commotion.

Most of the group scatters as the soldiers enter. The leader stands eye to eye with one of them. A telling glance is exchanged. He and the remaining men walk out casually, slamming the cross to the ground and breaking it in two.

None of this has been spontaneous.

The Carpenter and the teen-aged son are dragged out and arrested. No questions asked. They are paraded through the streets unceremoniously and and taken to the jail that had previously housed Paul.

But it doesn’t end there.

At the shop there is now no business at all. Any projects, whether ready for delivery or in progress were destroyed.

There were no savings back then. You lived day to day, week to week, or season to season. And now with the males gone there was no way to make money – and fines had to be paid.

Officially it is called, disturbing the peace.

The store is in ruins.

The fine line between having enough to live on – and disaster – has been crossed.

A weeping wife and four small confused children are left on the ground.

But there is more.

Please come back as the trouble in Philippi will conclude.

God Bless.



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie March 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

This fiction is so real. I can see and feel it happening. So hard to know that this kind of thing did really happen and still happens today. God bless you and the way He has given you to reach people for Him!


Craig March 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thank you Deb. You are an encourager. I appreciate it. Really do.


Anonymuss March 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Oh my! I can only agree with Debbie all the way.


Craig March 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

And you too A. thank you.


Dianna McBride March 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

You have been so gifted by Abba to paint pictures with your words, Craig. See you in the morning for the Early Bird version. :-)


Craig March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Dianna – I should probably get better with those “early bird” versions – this morning I think I actually posted non legible garbage – and kept chipping away at it until it was legible – thankfully I think nobody read until it was semi – coherent. :)

Thank you, there are much better writers than myself, but I thank you lots for the compliment. I may refer myself back to your words, and those of some others, when the voices start up with their “you can’t do this” routine again. God Bless :)


Michelle March 9, 2011 at 3:55 am

So real. And I’m sure there are many similar stories happening nowadays (Coptic Christians among many others). Thank you once again for bringing Scripture times to life.


Craig March 9, 2011 at 6:25 am

Amen Michelle – and in China and Iraq – I forget – we forget in our little North American bubble. Thank you for pointing that out. God Bless and keep.


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