Sunday, April 15
Followers of Faith
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Saul’s conversion was a community effort. There were a lot of events and people that needed to converge for Saul to be transformed into Paul. Saul’s role, of course, was to become one of the most hated and feared persecutors the early Christians ever faced. Jesus’ role was to scare the heck out of Paul, make himself known, and strike Paul blind, confused, and terrified.
There’s another who had a critical role in Saul’s conversion – Ananias was a faithful follower who was sent on a dangerous and terrifying mission. While Saul was fasting in shock in Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to Saul to heal his sight. Ananias was petrified, but his faith gave him courage to go.
Saul’s conversion might not have had near the impact on the world if the community of faith had not accepted him. Would Paul have remained faithful to God if he had been ostracized for his earlier persecutions and left to fend for himself? Doubtful. Paul’s conversion was well known among Christians because his transformation was so radically dramatic. But Ananias’ demonstration of faith was no less transformational. The people who work behind the scenes are every bit as critical to God’s mission as the people whose stories are dramatic and renowned.
Consider how you might celebrate the people whose work is so rarely acknowledged. No one person is responsible for the spread of Christianity or for doing God’s work. It is the work of the community.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 9:1-19a
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 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. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 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. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 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,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.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 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; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 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.”And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.