Did you know that on feast days in Rome the fountains would pour forth wine for all the citizens to drink? Here is a picture of a fountain in Rome which could have very likely existed in that time period and poured forth wine on the feast days. Think of vs.3 when you see this picture.
When I read through this section I can’t help but think of the hegemonous (there’s another one for you Sally) position that the United States has in the world. We know that Rome was the center of the Roman Empire and that it had complete dominance over the world. Things are bit more shaded today. While the United States could arguably be considered the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world, I think China might have something to say about that. But beyond China and the US no other nation can lay claim to having the type of impact and influence which Rome had during the era of its empire.
So when we read about the traders bemoaning the fact that Rome is no longer around, I can’t help but think of the impact that the US has on trade. It is interesting that we read in vs.8 from one day to the next everything had changed. Many of us saw an immediate change in the way in which we interacted with the world and with each other after 9/11. But we maintain our hegemony. I am not wishing that we would lose it. I’m wishing we could use our power for good in the world.
Another way in which to view our power is that we would be able to match the teachings of Jesus when he emphasizes a servant heart with our position in the world. What would it look like if we were servants first and foremost. What would it look like if our leaders tweeted examples in which we reached out and helped our neighbors, our own country men and women? What would it look like if we did turn our back on profit and embraced the future by welcoming our neighbor. I know, doesn’t sound realistic, but it is the course that Jesus would have us take. I know, sounds like a recipe for national self-destruction. Or maybe it sounds like a recipe for entering the kingdom of God as a child. I’ll take the latter.