Monday, April 16, 2018

Looking Forward to April 22, 2018 -- Easter 4, Saul/Paul on the Damascus Road

The Scripture reading this week is Acts 9:1-22

The Sermon title is Open Your Eyes!

Early Thoughts: God is doing a new thing! Why is it so hard to see that? In this week's passage both Saul and Ananias have to have their eyes opened (in Saul's case quite literally).

By this point in the story we have already met Saul.  We saw him standing and approving as Stephen was stoned, then we are told that he was an avid persecutor of the new community. But then he experiences the presence of the Risen Christ and changes to an avid proselytizer for this new thing God has done/is doing.

All we are told about Ananias is that he is a disciple.  It would seem a logical guess to think he might have been a person of some importance within the Christian community in Damascus. God calls on him to bring Saul into the fold. But Ananias knows Saul...surely God must be joking? or God is mistaken? This horrible man who is out to destroy us, you want me to go to him? But Ananias does so and God's ability to change people is revealed. I do note that because the story is about Saul we do not know what Ananias thinks of the end result.

The work of the Risen Christ is to transform people. Sometimes that transformation is to bring the outsider, even the violent opposition, into the fold. Sometimes that transformation is to remind us that God can call and use "even them" in the work of the Kingdom.

What are the new things we might miss because we are too set in our understandings of how God is at work? Where do we need our eyes to be opened?  And what will it take to make that happen


  1. I like your note, Gord, that we don't know what Ananias thought afterwards. But that makes me notice someone else, and that is the people who were accompanying Saul. When characters in a story are silent, sometimes that's kind of like permission to give them a voice so they can share their experience of the event. The people who were with Saul "heard but did not see." So here is what I can imagine trying to do: Get those people together over tea, coffee, or beer, in a skit and let the congregation overhear their experience of the whole thing. Ananias could be added a little into the conversation ... as though Ananias walks into the tavern after having met with Saul. Ananias overhears their conversation and joins in.

    1. IF only I felt that creative this week...hmmmm