“I won’t tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world’s voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!”
― Oscar Wilde
There are 15 small sparrows along with 1 yellow finch jumbled together in this picture. 16 small birds all vying for some scattered seeds in the straw. There were many more of these small birds pecking about under the tree but I focused in on the most concentrated group. They are difficult to distinguish from the straw as their coloring allows them to blend in so nicely, hopefully camouflaging them form the hawks that often circle above.
One might imagine that the yellow finch may seem a tad out of place as he is different. He is the lone member of his clan mixing it up in the midst of an entirely different family—and yet, he seems not to even take notice that he is yellow and they are brown. He’s a bit smaller than the larger sparrows and yet they don’t seem to mind having this yellow interloper joining their luncheon. No one getting lost in this small lunch crowd.
Today the calendar reminds us that it is the feast day of a little known obscure 1st century saint. Saint Prisca, or more commonly referred to as Pricilla, who along side her husband, Acilius or Aquila, are said to have worked closely with Saint Paul–having allowed Paul to live in the their home for almost 2 years.
At a time when woman were not considered necessarily as equal partners and would have always deferred to their husbands, Prisca / Pricilla, along with Aquila, are referenced 6 different times in the new testament, often with her name being written before that of her husband’s name–unheard of during that time period. Some scholars even attribute the anonymously written Book of Hebrews to Prisca / Pricilla. It is thought that perhaps Prisca / Pricilla was a teacher, as this was in part the reason for her prominence and referral by Paul throughout the New Testament. Such a dangerous route for anyone during this time in history, but more so given that she was a jewish woman now following that crucified rebel rouser known simply to her heart at the Messiah.
This couple was, what we would consider, 1st century missionaries who worked extensively with Saint Paul to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ–all this despite having been exiled from Rome by the Emperor Claudius who had called for all Jews to be banished from Rome. History teaches us that Prisca / Pricilla, just like so many of the undeterred members of this young new religion, was eventually martyred for her faith. The date for her death, that of beheading in Rome, is noted as today January 18th.
Prisca / Pricilla knew of the dangers her teaching and faith would cause but she was not deterred. She chose the moment, choosing not to run and hide, but to continue sharing the life-changing importance of Jesus Christ–daring to swim against the tide of mainstream thought and belief. She made the decision, chose the moment, and never looked back.
Here is an example of a woman working alongside the men, making the ultimate sacrifice, working besides St Paul–oddly there is none of the sexism that St Paul is always so doggedly accused of here, no admonishment due to the fact that she was a woman–she chose her moment, she dared to take a stand, eventually paying the ultimate price with her life. Beheading. A gruesome death for anyone, let alone a woman. Prisca / Priscilla is now remembered, rather notably, throughout Rome as there is a church, as well as a set of Catacombs bearing her name.
May we all be more willing to go, when time dictates, against the proverbial stream in the name of Righteousness and Truth, choosing to seize the moment despite the fact that the way of the World may be in the opposite direction or because of our age, sex, learning. . . May we choose to be the one who stands out in the crowd rather than the one who remains lost, all for the sake of Righteousness and Truth. May we choose to be bold and brave–when the World would tell us to be quiet. Are you ready? Prisca / Pricilla didn’t think twice.