Acts 14

Acts 14

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

Iconium -- a surely different city --
presented quite familiar nitty-gritty.
Its Jewish synagogue apparently
possessed an almost ideal quality,
as Paul & Barnabas there preached with power
permitting speech to act as an endower
inviting many Jews & Greeks to seem
devout enough to revel in life’s dream;
however, certain Jews so hostilely
seemed far from any true civility
as God’s rich message reached them, they appeared
to be unruly brats that long had steered
their world away from any tendency
that might permit whatever harmony
perhaps could let most Gentiles be of minds
that might not have to fabricate big binds.
Despite all forms of difficulty, though,
those two apostles managed not to go
so much toward quietudes as not to preach
on what the Lord’s great grace might always teach;
the Lord, meanwhile, continued offering
clear proof their messages took mighty wing,
by re-assigning them substantial powers;
yes (verily!), those men were vast endowers,
&, when some townfolk offered harsh opinions,
defensive cries went up for their dominions.
(Some sided with the Jews, while others lent
those two apostles full encouragement.)
A mob, composed of Gentiles & of Jews,
& (as a part of what it would abuse)
inclusive of main leaders, roundly chose
to strive to be inflictors of large woes
on both apostles by quite stoning them;
those men, like wounded blossoms on some stem,
felt so completely threatened they took strides
that might breed hope as such quite re-abides.
They fled, posthaste, to that new area
that had the sweet name ‘Lycaonia’;
& there, in Lystra & in Derbe &
in nearby spots, they did their very grand
behavior of producing preachments meant
to spread Good News that never could be bent.

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe

Once, while in Lystra, Paul & Barnabas
met up with one fine man who then, alas,
was absolutely crippled in both feet
& seemed to mirror sorrow quite complete.
Since birth he’d been that way, &, thus, he never
had had real walking in his life’s endeavor.
He sat attentively & listened well
while Paul’s rich preaching cast its vibrant spell;
on looking at him utterly directly,
Paul fully sensed what rich integrity
both filled him & allowed his heart to feel
faith large enough to crush his own ordeal;
thus, in a very special sort of voice
Paul called toward him: “Stand up, &, yes, rejoice!”
The man jumped up, then started perfect walking,
& when the crowd beheld that, their main talking,
which was in their most local dialect,
said, loudly: “Such bright preachers must connect
with utter godliness -- despite how human
may seem & be some parts of their acumen!”
One concept seemed to label Barnabas
the Greek god ‘Zeus’ & see how Paul could pass
for ‘Hermes’ – since dear Paul was, after all,
some brilliant orator; still standing tall
outside the town’s main gates as facts then were
was Zeus’s temple, & its livelier
activity the priest of it made sure
(along with crowds whose motives all stayed pure)
would actually bring to those same gates
large bulls & wreaths of flowers, all in states
permitting sacrifices to both men;
no sooner, though, did -- much like some strange wren --
that likelihood reach Barnabas & Paul
than formulations seemed to have to call
their filling with dismay that caused their turning
toward shredding their own clothes, as if discerning
amazing excess; they dashed out among
the multitudes, then spoke in tones quite stung
with outrage, saying: “Friends, why, really, now
are you performing thus -- since facts endow
the very thorough probability
we’re, merely, mortals whose plain potency
could never go beyond, by any means,
a kindredness with you that owns few sheens?
We’ve come to bring to you the great Good News,
which is that you henceforth should all refuse
to stay preoccupied with worthless things
& should, instead, embrace true honorings
of that same living God whose perfect powers
include His filling all our weeks & hours
with rich reality – nay, gladly making
the heaven, the earth, the sea, & not forsaking
the monumental task of helping life
be something whose delight stays vastly rife.
He long permitted all & sundry nations
to go their own mere ways, as though temptations
might never blind them to all evidence
forever pointing out His opulence;
for instance, He continues sending you
crops rich & varied & appears to view
as ‘necessary’ your attaining bliss
that keeps your heartstrings free from each abyss.”
Though Paul & Barnabas used words that fancy,
the people still had tendencies so chancy
as almost seeming very strangely sure
to wish to wield some sacrificial cure.
Some suasive Jews before too long arrived,
in modes implying anger too revived,
from Antioch & from Iconium
& caused the crowds to like their verbal hum
so starkly Paul soon reaped both ghastly stoning
& being dragged, as though to grind all groaning,
completely out of town, then being left,
apparently, as dead as dreams bereft;
yet, when believers thronged around him, he
exhibited the grand felicity
of standing up, then walking back to town.
With Barnabas, & hoping hard to drown
much disillusion, he the next day turned
his steps toward Derbe, where sweet rest seemed earned.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch of Syria

In Derbe those two stalwarts preached at length
on God’s Good News as such provided strength,
& many new disciples thus were made,
who seemed as bright & firm as is fresh jade;
then Lystra & Iconium again
were sure to be main places where those men
would keep applying wondrous ardency
to nudge belief toward true hegemony;
in Antioch, of old Pisidia,
their words performed as no ephemera,
& more & more devoutness was about.
Encouraging the people not to flout
humility or grace, they did not fail
to issue warnings as to the travail
we suffer in the forms of hardship sure
to challenge souls who seek the grand allure
of entering God’s Kingdom totally.
One further area of specialty
of Paul & Barnabas was their appointing
in every church, as if to be anointing,
such worthy elders as might brightly guide,
through prayer & fasting & on every side,
mere humans far along the kinds of paths
that obviate unwholesome aftermaths
by staying truly trusting toward the Lord
& what His kindnesses may reafford;
they traveled then beyond Pisidia
& ended up soon in Pamphylia.
They preached God’s word to folk in Perga &
went to Attalia with modes unbland;
&, finally, by ship, those two once more
arrived in a location rife with lore --
that Antioch of Syria from which
their journey had commenced entirely rich
with lofty hopes; some deep believers there
had fully trusted them to show great care
while doing certain labors God decreed
were instruments for filling each true need.
In Antioch those same apostles did
their utmost to help one & all feel rid
of every grief, & Gentiles had been given
a chance to feel eternally reshriven.
As lingerers they dutifully made glory
seem certain to be part of any story.

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