The adventure continues in today’s chapter, at least until it ends. And since early childhood, I’ve associated the book of Acts with Paul’s snakebite from this chapter. I remember a Sunday school handout telling the story of the storm, shipwreck, and island encounter through text and illustrations. In a simple but realistic style, one of the drawings depicted Paul withdrawing from the campfire with a writhing snake clinging to his hand. It was exciting and a little bit scary, and it locked the idea into my head that sometimes missionaries have adventures. It was like the book of Acts itself had latched onto my brain with serpent teeth.
There’s an MC Frontalot/Baddd Spellah collaboration track titled “The Rhyme of the Nibelung,” translating Wagner’s opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung into hip-hop, as viewed through the eyes of an opera-illiterate spectator. Frontalot grouses confusedly through most of the opera, wondering who characters are, why they do what they do, and why there aren’t any hobbits, but finally gets into the action-packed finale. He exclaims: “I might even have to come back; wonder if they sell a ticket for just the third act?” And in some respects, over the years I’ve come to view the book of Acts in a similar way, because it’s twenty-seven chapters in before we get to seafaring adventures, storms, and shipwrecks.