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Love, the Appian Way

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Edited by Jim McCrory, Sunday, 8 Oct 2023, 13:10

Philia: the love among friends.

In 2009, I was returning home from Rome. On the way to the airport, I noticed the sign for Via Appia (The Appian Way). I was reminded of a Bible account where the Apostle Paul was being transferred from Jerusalem to Rome under armed guard to have his case heard in 58 A.D. As Paul walked along this ancient road, news of his journey came to the attention of his fellow Christians in the city. Luke reports Pauls words:

‘The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they travelled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us.’

The Forum of Appius was a usual stopping place 64 km from Rome. The poet Horace described it as “festered with frogs, gnats, boatmen and stingy tavern-keepers”. The Three Taverns was a traveller’s inn 58 km from the capitol. What I find moving about this account is that the Christians of Paul’s day were prepared to walk all that way to support their spiritual brother. When Paul caught sight of them, he thanked God and took courage. The Greek word for courage (tharséō) from the source language of the New Testament, carries with it the warm-hearted thought of emboldening with inner strength.

I wonder, I just wonder, how many Christians would do the same for a fellow believer?

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