The Epistle of Lydia to the Philippian Jailor

by Jane Kretschmann

My new friend, I was delighted to meet you 
and your family when you joined us for worship. 
Paul and Silas told us of your kindness, 

feeding them in your own house and even 
washing their wounds. Do you know the story 
of Jesus washing the feet of his disciplies? 

Your act carries on his legacy of humility 
and service. Paul also told us of your desire 
to learn what faith prompted them to sing 

though imprisoned. What a miracle that shaking 
of the earth was! Now, whenever the five of us 
are assembled, Bernice, who has a lively wit, likely

says with a smile, “Do thyself no harm, 
for we are all here.” We chuckle, of course, 
but also remember how Paul saved your life.

As jailor, you know well the plight of the men imprisoned. 
Two of the women who worship here would like to minister 
to them if possible, providing some fresh baked bread, 

tending their wounds, perhaps praying with them. These women 
know from an uncle who spent time there how hard the life 
of a prisoner can be. My servant Simon will accompany the two
women so there will be no impropriety of their coming alone. 
I hope to receive your blessing for this ministry before 
I contact the official in charge of the prison for his permission.

Jane K. Kretschmann of Piqua, Ohio, retired English professor from Edison State Community College, has work in print and online and broadcast on radio. Her chapbook, Imagining a Life, was published by FootHills Publishing. Recently, her poems appeared in Gyroscope Review, Mock Turtle Zine, NFSPS Encore 2022, and OPA Best of 2022. Edison premiered her readers’ theater Lynching Alabama. Jane participated in Poetry at Hayner: a Mosaic of Voices. The selections in this submission are from her series The Epistles of Lydia of Thyatira, the seller of purple from Acts 16.

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