The Holy Spirit at Work: Transforming through new ways of seeing
Paul and Companions Meet the Jailer in Philippi
In the method used in this lesson, Ignatian Study, a specific section of scripture is read and studied from a number of different perspectives. The readers will be asked to read through the verses several times, each time from a different point of view. Looking at a story from differing perspectives helps us understand multiple aspects of the text. By using imagination we can make the story come alive, almost as if we were there at the scene, thereby enabling us to enter into the story and comprehend details that we would otherwise miss. By considering the mindset of several characters, we can come to a better understanding of the context of the original story as well as of what the text is saying to us in our own situation today.
Prepare yourselves to listen and wonder: Sing a hymn or song that opens us to the continued acting of the Holy spirit in our lives. Then sit in silence for a minute or three, breathing in, breathing out, quieting your bodies and your spirits.
Read Acts 16:12-40 out loud. Each group member (or 2 members together) choose one of the following roles:
- The owners of the females slave
- Paul and Silas
- Luke, who narrates the story and was present in Philippi
- The jailer
- The magistrates
- The Holy Spirit (begin with vs.6)
- There are many other characters in this story whose perspectives are useful, but time may limit how many can be viewed.
Read the passage out loud 2-3 more times, with everyone listening from their chosen character perspective. Visualize the events from this perspective. Take your time. Enter into the mindset of the person. Sense the emotions as if you were that person.
Listen to the perspective of each character, using the same questions:
- What emotions arise in you as the story develops?
- What are your questions?
- How does the Holy Spirit transform you?
Conclude by sharing how this story invites transformation of your own story or your community`s story. Then spend some time “praying and singing hymns to God”.