What I’m Thinking: Double Vision

As Luke described the Apostle Paul’s conversation to Christianity, he regained his sight in two senses: both his physical sight, and his ability to perceive the new things God had done in Jesus.

Here’s a transcript:

We’re very blessed at Church of the Holy Cross to have a special guest to preach to us this Sunday. The Rev. Tracy Barnowe, the Hawai’i Conference’s Associate Conference Minister for Church Vitality, will be with us. I’m really looking forward to her message, her wisdom, and the amazing energy that she brings.

But I am thinking about the ninth chapter of Acts (Acts 9:1-20). The Apostle Paul did not really tell us, in the letters of his that survive, about his conversion. He admits – he declares – that he was active in resisting the growth of the People of the Way, the early Church, before his conversion to Christianity, before his experience of (as he puts it) the resurrected Christ.

He left it to Luke to tell about it in the ninth chapter of Acts, and it’s a very dramatic story. He’s on his way, and he’s suddenly blinded by a light. He hears the voice of Jesus asking why he is persecuting him (that is, why Paul is persecuting Jesus), and it’s only when one of Jesus’ disciples, a man named Ananias, comes along and heals him, that Saul (Paul) receives a double vision: his literal vision, but also his metaphorical vision, his ability to perceive the new thing that God has done.

Now, Rebekah Anderson, a few weeks ago, talked about perhaps Paul continued to have problems with his literal vision. We know that he struggled with some kind of physical disability or difficulty, and perhaps it was, in fact, his eyesight.

It is not the physical eyesight, it is not the physical strength, it is not our ability to move or to hear that really defines who we are as people of faith. It’s the ability that we have – or rather, the commitment that we have – to opening up our souls, to widening out our spirits, to opening the doors of our hearts to the movements of God. These are the things that both feed our faith and enable us to share it as lovingly and passionately as the Apostle Paul did.

There are many things about his writings… Paul may have left behind his willingness to persecute the Church, but his arrogance and his temper remained there in his surviving letters. No, our conversions do not transform everything about us that we might wish to leave behind.

Nevertheless, that new vision, that open vision, that heart that is prepared to accept the spiritual things that feed faith – well, that’s what I pray for each day.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Categories Uncategorized, What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on April 28, 2019

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