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  • Mary Palinkos

Conversion of St. Paul

Today the church usually celebrates the Conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Since this is a Sunday, it will get pushed to tomorrow...but I figure we can at least talk about it today. Here is what the Book of Acts (9:1-22) has to say:

9 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

(The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 9:1–19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

(Straight Street in Damascus...)

Paul had an intense, life-changing encounter with Jesus. But he did not endure it alone. God sent someone to help Paul through the strange and disorienting time after his encounter.

This time in our life together is intense, and strange, and disorienting. Yet we are not in it alone. As we sit in our own Straight Street houses, trying to make sense of what has happened, God will send someone to help us along the way (or a few). Look for those messengers of the Lord, because they are angels in our midst! And also...and here's the really crazy part... be ready for God to send you as an angel for someone else. We are in this together. Peace to you this day, my friends.


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