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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, July 5, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Acts 9:1–9

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. (NRSV)

I love this passage. I’ve had my Damascus moments, times when I was certain in what I knew and then a moment changed it all.

(Also, I love the imagery here—“still breathing threats and murder”—a glimpse into the passion that would also inform his second life.)

Once it was an otherworldly, inexplicable moment that stopped me, stunned me, turned everything I thought I knew about the world upside down.

And once it was more quiet but no less disorienting. I sat down to write over early morning tea and got up from my seat half an hour later knowing that what I’d been trying to write was a lie, that who I thought I was was not who I thought I was, and the world was different now with that knowledge.

But both times I then had to reorient myself, begin a new life, relying on the guidance of others for how to do so.

Not everyone gets such clear moments as these. I consider myself blessed. But we all, if we’re paying attention, can be alert for the stirrings of the Spirit. What are you doing, this day, in this life, to pay attention?

Gracious God, may we be open to such moments and willing to do the work that is needed afterwards. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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