When we last saw our Philippian carpenter his hands were useless, his family homeless, and penniless, and things were on the verge of actually really getting bad…
just because of wooden cross.
Things are ending horribly.
So today – we have happier endings. I heart happy endings.
And now – the nicer endings…
One choice is this…
* The church rallies to the aid of the family – a collection is taken up – and a home provided as the carpenter learns a new trade – as his hands heal. But I don’t choose this one. Because the church was a poor church. I think this ending, although cheery, is not the best.
So we have this choice…
* A Greek Stoic philosopher – let’s say his name is Cicero – happens by the shop. He decides to make an example out of this. He begins teaching in the Forum about the mess that is this crazy system of god’s has just made. The stoic philosophers had money despite teaching that money was not important. They also tended to do good – just for the doing of good. The guild comes around, the curses are removed, the priests exposed, funds are suddenly and secretly provided, and the family has a second chance. I like this one better – and can see it happening.
But this is my favorite…
The patron. The woman who didn’t care much for the gods of Rome, but played the game so as not to jeopardize her status? In fact, this woman had actually heard stories of another carpenter – and thought they were…
But she was just one part of the 150 or so “power couples” in the city. So she couldn’t outright oppose the priests and aid the “atheist” carpenter. But, like running water will find a way around an obstacle – she begins to orchestrate the happier ending.
A slave of the woman is a member of the Philippian church.
She’s the one who has been talking of the Nazarine carpenter.
She is sent by the patron, to gather the family,
leaving all their belongings behind,
and secrets them to the woman’s house under cover of night.
To make sure there’s no trouble, a few – larger type males – with weapons – accompany her.
The patron knows people in Colossi, far enough away for a new beginning, close enough to still be watched over. It will take time to heal hands, settle into a new, larger apartment, not like the slums of Philippi, buy new clothes, toys, tools, and put up the sign over the – soon to be open – carpentry shop.
And the cross is repaired. And though I’d like to say it is placed prominently in the storefront – well, we have to be realistic. But there are no idols placed at the entryway. The cross only comes out when someone scribbles this in the dirt.
to which he adds this…
and just one more happy fact…
The young slave girl seems to know one of the family very well,
there is soon a marriage,
and the teen-aged son remains behind in Philippi.
He’s got work to do there.
He will soon become important to our Philippian church,
which is about to double in size.
His name is Epaphroditus
the first bishop of the Philippi,
I heart me some happy endings.