Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Artemis of the Ephesians

You’ve got to call her "Artemis of the Ephesians;" otherwise you might confuse her with another Artemis, goddess of the Greeks. The Artemis about whom the Ephesians cried, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” was born, so the myths say, near Ephesus. She did not make the temple that was built for her in Ephesus her home, she lived in the woods – or wherever living things lived. She was the mother of all the living. Anything, then, could be given or offered to her. Maybe that’s why her shrine in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Greek World was so large and why so much of value came into the city.

Demetrius was a silversmith who made his money making Artemis memorabilia. No, that isn’t what they would have called it, but since her only lasting value has been the trinkets of her likeness that have been discovered, “memorabilia” is appropriate. Demetrius was a worshipper, it would seem. He mentions the fact that Paul slandered Artemis in his preaching against idols, and that he didn’t think that was right. Yet, twice, before he mentions the slander, he mentions the money that he and his cohorts will be out if people continued turning from Artemis to Yahweh. He no doubt knew that there could not be a profitable conversion for him, either. After all, Yahweh does not want any images made of his likeness – as if that could really happen.

Later on the city clerk is going to console the people who riot by saying that they all know that Artemis is divine and their beliefs shouldn’t be threatened. He seems concerned that he will have to answer to the higher authorities regarding a riot and really wants to avoid that. He succeeds in quieting the crowd, and is able to dismiss the crowd.

Demetrius is concerned about money and says that when Paul says that man-made gods are not gods at all that he was destroying the reputation of Artemis. The city clerk is concerned about riots and says that no one had blasphemed their goddess by what they had said. Someone isn’t telling the truth, here. The city clerk is avoiding reality to avoid a confrontation with his superiors. The message about the God of Heaven, the God whom Paul preached, the God who sent Jesus allows no room for other gods.

Yahweh is jealous. Yahweh demands all of your loyalty. Yahweh is real and alive. Do you think he is trying to push all of your other loyalties aside? Have you gotten the impression that he refuses to be one of two masters to you? Do you perceive that he wants you to love him with all your heart, soul and strength? Then you have understood correctly. He’ll have no place but the only place. That’s Life at Work!

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