Sun, 24 January 2021
(Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15; Mk.16:15-18)
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.”
One would not have expected these words to be spoken so profoundly to the heart of St. Paul. For he, then known as Saul, had spent such time and with such vigor had persecuted the followers of Christ. Why does the Lord shine His light all about him? Why does He speak to him and reveal Himself to him? Why is it this man who is picked to bring the Name of Jesus to all the nations? Perhaps it was his very vigor in persecuting His followers Jesus admired. Perhaps his sincerity and commitment to this cause in the name of God He knew He could use for the cause of justice and right. Perhaps he is a sign to us all that none is beyond the redemption the Lord offers. We know only that he who was persecuting the Church now works to build it up. We know only the story of this great Apostle to the world.
“Recover your sight,” Ananias says to this Saul, and so Paul, once blinded by the light of the Lord, now has his eyes open to see. So he who once went about with scales on his eyes, he whose vision was once so prevented from realizing the truth of the Jesus in his midst… he who was once so like his brother Pharisees, now sees. And what he sees is not simply Ananias standing before him. What he sees standing before him in this faithful disciple of Jesus, is Christ Himself. And he realizes whom he has been persecuting, and repents. And so he is baptized. And so his mission, one wrought in the suffering of Christ, begins.
“Praise the Lord, all you nations; glorify Him, all you peoples!” are the words of our psalmist, but they could as easily be the exhortation of the Apostle Paul. Having himself believed in the Good News proclaimed to all creation and accepted Baptism into its way, he himself now brings so many others to walk along the same path. Great signs accompany him, and his words to our ears are as those of Jesus to him, for now he is such a strong part of the Body of Christ, persecuted by this world and calling it to salvation. On this day all our hearts should turn to the Lord, that we might join Paul and profess our faith in His Name.
Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.
Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.
O LORD, help us to believe
and so turn to your Son to be saved.
YHWH, let all men turn to you as has your great Apostle. Reveal yourself to the eyes and ears of all souls who seek God, all who are zealous for the truth. Why should we continue so blind? Let all be baptized into the way of your Son and so be blessed with His power and His love.
Let us not be afraid to lay down our lives for you, O LORD. Let us not turn away from what we must suffer for your Name and that of your Son. In this we should find our joy; proclaiming the Gospel to all Creation should be the food that sustains us. Let us be the sign of your presence in this world.
Lay your hands upon us, LORD, that we might be healed. Send your disciples to us to teach us of your way and your truth. Let us enter into that way with them and declare to all that Jesus is the Messiah and in Him all souls are saved and brought to light.