Saul, who becomes Paul, a lead author of the New Testament and an early systematic Christian theologian, has quite the conversion story! As Saul, the well-educated, devout hunter-of-Christians, he finds himself on the way to Damascus, looking for more Jesus followers to lock up, when “suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” We know from the story that after his personal encounter with Jesus, he was struck blind for a few days, changed his name to Paul, and proceeded to plant churches and write letters, all while zealously proclaiming the gospel message.
Can you imagine such a scene?
As I write this, the cleanup operations are in full swing following Hurricane Florence and a tornado touching down in the Ottawa area. The power of nature can be awesome and terrifying, to be sure, but I believe Saul’s encounter is way beyond that.
I wonder if most of us do not thank God that our journeys to faith in Jesus were made in much smaller steps: Sunday school teachers; parents and grandparents showing us how to live faithfully; often a sudden, life-altering encounter with the Holy Spirit, but still not as dramatic and frightening as Paul’s.
Thank you, God, for the gift of the apostle Paul, who helps us live faithful lives. Amen. — ML