Our Sibling, Paul

by the Rev. Charlie Dupree

Paul’s story is peculiar. He was a persecutor of Christians. One day, he set off to a place called Damascus to stir up more trouble, I’m sure. On the way, a very bright light overtook him and a voice came from heaven, saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me.” Frederick Buechner writes about the incident, “It was about noon when he was knocked flat by a blaze of light that made the sun look like a forty-watt bulb . . . [Paul] was blind as a bat for three days afterward, but he made it to Damascus anyway and was baptized on the spot. He was never the same again, and neither, in a way, was the world.

Paul left his mark on the world. How?

Through his letters,

Through his teaching,

Through his politicizing,

Through his blusteriness,

Through his call to bring Christ’s message into the presence of power,

Through his many thoughts about the place and role of love in our lives,

in the way he imagined you and I as being a part of the body of Christ…each having our own way of being hands, feet, heart.

We may have a few issues with Paul, which I get (believe me!), but through all of these things, he changed the world and still informs how we are to be in the world.

Thursday, January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. In case you haven’t put two and two together, our church is named after this unique, peculiar character and we will celebrate this figure on Sunday.

What do you think? Do you see any similarities? Might there be a connection between Paul and the way you and I are called to be the church in the world and in our community today?

Give it some thought . . .

See you in church (Guest Preacher, Ben Campbell)