Silas and Paul

A couple of compadres who found themselves often at odds with circumstances beyond their control and despite it all, they kept on. Remaining true to their call and their own ways of growing and sharing. 

With some musical overtones mixed in, we’ll talk about how these two have some very relevant messages for us, on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

Thanks for joining us today. If you’ve been coming around for a while you probably have noticed that occasionally I get some musical notes stuck in my head. Often off key if I try to sing them, but there are times when the lyrics just really click.

They are definitely in tune with what I have to share for a day along our shared path. This is one of those days.

So borrowing a bit, with credit given to Willie Nelson, I’ve noticed how the Apostle Paul and one of his associates, Silas, could have had more than a few days like the song, “Me and Paul”. 

While a standard in “Outlaw Country”, written about his longtime drummer, bookkeeper and protector, Paul English, Nelson’s relationship with him shared many qualities of the association of Silas and Paul.

Describing run-ins with the law and skepticism they faced going through the world were also themes that Silas and Paul share in the Scriptures. 

As for the modern day musicians, the pair became friends in 1956 and remained steadfast and committed to their common goals until English passed away in 2020. 

Fitting they would see each other through for so long as English once said, “Had it not been for Willie, I would be dead or in the penitentiary”.

As the song begins, “It’s been rough and rocky travelin’, But I’m finally standin’ upright on the ground. After takin’ several readings, I’m surprised to find my mind’s still fairly sound”.

Silas and Paul’s travels were certainly rough and rocky both before and after they teamed up. 

Paul of course experienced his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, leaving his former identity of Saul of Tarsus behind after literally being struck down and having to take time to realize his mind was intact and he could again stand upright on the ground. 

The early years of Silas life I don’t believe we know much about but it’s obvious he knew how to handle himself on the road and more than once proved to be a true friend to Paul. Further bringing up likenesses in the two pairs here is the fact that the Biblical companions were also known to make some music too.

In Acts 16:25 you can read, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them”.

And much like a Willie concert the reaction was so great, it may have been responsible for “the foundations of the prison were shaken”, allowing the cohorts to slip out and onto the road again.

However before doing so they managed to convert their jailer. 

Now is where I take a little creative license and returning to the song, this is how I think Silas’ version may have differed a bit. 

I guess Philippi, was the roughest

But I know I’ve said the same about them all

We received our education

In the cities of many kingdoms, me and Paul.

It was there that the heroes of our tale received more than an education as they were beaten and hauled off to jail. 

Busted for reasons that I’ll freely disclose

But if you’re stayin’  there 

you may leave with nothin’ 

Not even your clothes

Locals became enraged because these two came into town and cast a demon out of a slave woman described as a local favorite. 

Her owners, upset that her salvation could impact their future earnings, demanded the two be thrown in prison, after allowing a mob to attack them and strip them naked.

And at the crossroads in Ephesus

They refused to let us speak,

They said we looked suspicious

But I believe they like to pick on me and Paul

And I can still hear similarities in the following verses too, of course with my revisions….

On a package show in Antioch

With us and Barnabas and John Mark

The show was long and we’re just sittin’ there

And we’d come to play and not just for the ride

Well the discussion was long

So I don’t know if we went on that night at all

But I don’t think they even missed us

I guess Cypress ain’t geared for me and Paul

It was there at Antioch that Barnabas and Paul had a few disagreements, concerning John Mark. Paul, upset feeling that ‘Mark had deserted him in Pamphylia’, refused to allow him to join on the trip to Syria and Cilicia. So he parted ways.

Barnabas and Mark sailed on to Cypress and Silas remained loyal to Paul and they headed in their own direction. 

Fortunately both bands went on to their own critical success. Following the split it allowed for the Gospel to spread twice as far. 

And I can hear the chorus resonate, reminding us that:

It’s been rough and rocky travelin’

But I’m finally standin’ upright on the ground

After takin’ several readings

I’m surprised to find my mind’s still fairly sound

I guess Philippi, was the roughest

But I know I’ve said the same about them all

We received our education

In the cities of many kingdoms, me and Paul.

I hope I was able to bring a  smile to the start of your week as we took a somewhat humorous look at some valuable scripture. The lessons of Silas and Paul are many, and they point to perhaps many of today.

Neither knew they were  going to be called. They both lived life. Made mistakes, but eventually were known for who they were becoming. 

Paul, noted most often as the Apostle Paul, is credited with writing what is now considered two-thirds of the Bible. Silas was described as open minded, and believed that the message of Jesus Christ should not be restricted to a select few. They both endured hardships, learned many lessons and ultimately became who they were created to be.

Proving that it is possible for us as well.

Many of Paul’s situations and lessons still readily apply to us today. Earlier this year I did a mini-series of what I called conversations, where I imagined what it would be like if the Apostle Paul were here today, and trying to get his messages to us.

We’ll refocus on those chats beginning tomorrow, on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.

In case you’re not familiar with the song, I referenced, let’s reach for the stacks of wax, as Sherman sets the way back machine to 1971 and Willie Nelson, singing one of many songs he wrote, this one called, “Me and Paul”:

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