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My story, our story, The Story

by davesandel on January 25th, 2021

Monday, January 25, 2021                 (today’s lectionary)

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

My story, our story, The Story

Richard Rohr’s “domes” cover Paul ­– they cover all of us. My story is encompassed in our story, and our story is contained within The Story. It was true for Paul, and it’s true for you and me.

Get up and go, and there you will be told about everything you are appointed to do. I could see nothing because of the brightness of the light, so I was led there by the hands of my companions.

Sandy dust blew through my scarf, and the heat caught up with us just after sunrise. This desert welcomed no one. We rode a horse, a mule, with nary a camel in the group, headed for Damascus. Saul was talking to himself as usual, not to us. Was he praying? Was he crazy? We didn’t know, although we had our ideas. I couldn’t help but admire his persistence, but he acted as much like a fanatic as anyone I’ve known.

Saul didn’t notice the weather. He didn’t really notice us, either. We traveled, ate and slept together. We protected God’s reputation and proclaimed the truth of the Torah, the truth of the Prophets, the truth of the Psalms. And we waited for the Messiah. We were in no hurry, we didn’t expect much to happen in our lifetimes. Nothing much has happened for a few hundred years.

A dust devil spun around Saul’s horse, and Saul fell awkwardly onto the sand. We could see a bright light beyond the early morning sun, like a sudden aura around Saul. Saul spoke, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Then he was listening. Saul rarely listened. I watched his face change. I heard him ask, “What shall I do, sir?”

You will be his witness to all you have seen and heard. But I will show you what you have to suffer for my name. I chose you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last.

The aura around Saul faded. The sand settled. Saul lay silent on his back. “I can’t see,” he said. Then he told us to help him get to Damascus. We ate there, but he did not. We drank there, but he did not. We found the man he asked for, and after three days we took him there. The man named Ananias touched his eyes and said, “Saul, my brother, regain your sight.”

These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages, they will pick up serpents with their hands. If they drink any poison it will not harm them, and when they lay hands on the sick, the sick will recover.

I thought of Job’s words and I thought Saul must be praying them too. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Our lives were changing faster than I could breathe. God’s touch, his words, his bright light transformed Saul completely. And whats more, I was finally sure he wasn’t crazy. His silence, his prayers and confident smiles broke all the old stories into bits and pieces. Jesus was alive, and Saul was not going to let any of us forget it. God surrounded our story with His Story. I was caught up, like Saul, in the eternal, immortal presence of Abba Father. Jesus would be our guide. And we would be his people.

Your kindness toward me is steadfast and your faithfulness endures for all generations.

(Acts 22, Acts 9, Psalm 117, John 15, Mark 16)

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