Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Conversion of Paul- Acts 9:1-20- By Amy Gardine

It hardly seems possible, but our Stepping Stones Bible study is coming to a close. It has been an amazing journey to discern God’s call for our congregation, our community, and our world. But I found this week’s passage to be somewhat curious. In Acts we witness the blinding of Paul; the calling of Ananias to step outside of his biases by laying hands on Paul for conversion; the scales falling off of Paul’s eyes; and (this part I love) the exotic locale of STRAIGHT Street in Damascus! I adore this amazingly powerful story of using all men to do the work of God – sometimes when others do not see how or why. Paul’s misled ways are literally “made straight” through his experience with Christ. Not because of the street name, but because of the change in Paul’s heart. But how can such powerful and drastic change be expected of us? Will we, too, have this dramatic and compelling message sent to Sunnyside?

As I reflected on this passage, I tried to apply this story to my own journey in the church. I remembered my earliest moments of awe and respect for God, then compared it to the story of Paul. I must be honest. I did not get blinded by Jesus or pray intensively for three days. And, although my contacts feel pretty awful sometimes, I did not have scales fall from my eyes. I also did not have one person who aided me in my love of God. Instead, I was surrounded by a community of believers who would guide me and direct my path. My moments of awe rested in the shafts of sunlight that used to fall across the choir where my mother sang beautiful hymns of praise. So what could I take from Paul’s story? Perhaps, I am more like Ananias – being called to go against the current. Perhaps, I am needing to shut out the voices of doubt, fear, and disdain to embrace all people. Perhaps, in my desire to be God to the world, I am being called to look at all parts of the church – from the most amazing changes to the most subtle. Because this is the way to begin a church: as a body of believers. No part left unknown. This is the way to share with the world the power and love of God.

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