Friday, January 25, 2013


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 9:1-19a

TO CHEW ON: “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem…’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go…’” Acts 9:13, 15a

While Peter’s restoration occurred during a quiet conversation with Jesus, Saul’s (later Paul) was a dramatic encounter. God knew that Saul’s zeal was rooted in the belief he was doing the right thing and what it would take to change his mind. When the light, the power and the voice of Jesus stopped him on the Damascus road, he converted in an instant.

In this story I sympathize with Ananias. Imagine being told to visit Christianity’s most vocal and influential opponent (to us Richard Dawkins,  say, or Sam Harris). Even compliant Ananias raised objections…'Lord, do You know who this man is and what he has authority to do?' (Acts 9:13-14). To Ananias’ credit, he went anyway, found the now blind, helpless, and hungry Saul and helped onto his feet the man who became the church’s most articulate champion.

Are you and I as quick to obey – even when obedience seems like non-sense? Oswald Chambers says about obedience:

“There is no moral virtue in obedience unless there is a recognition of a higher authority in the one who dictates…. a man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is a recognition of a holy God.

But woe be to me if when I see Him, I say I will not. He will never insist I do it but I have begun to sign the death warrant of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say – I will not, He will never insist; but I am backing away from the recreating power of His redemption.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 18th reading.

To whom or about what is God saying “Go” to us today? Will I? Will you?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for examples like Paul and Ananias who illustrate how the lives of people in Your kingdom interlock. Help me to cooperate with You in this by going whenever you say the word. Amen

MORE: The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Today the church celebrates the Conversion of St. Paul. The liturgy for this day begins with this collect:

"O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

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