One of the most familiar conversion stories not just in the Bible, but in the consciousness of even non-Christians is the story of Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. The story is so well-known that the phrase “Damascus Road experience” has become synonymous with a moment of radical life change for persons of all backgrounds. And it is a spectacular story -- of a man then known as Saul on his way to Damascus in order to persecute Christians only to be encountered by the voice of Christ in a blinding light calling him to continue on to the city for further instructions.
Did you know that as Saul reaches Damascus another conversion story is played out? This comes when the Lord speaks to a Christian man named Ananias, telling him to find and then care for and even heal Saul of his blindness. Ananias’ first response to this call is to be expected as one whom Saul was probably coming to town to persecute. He tells the Lord basically that Saul’s reputation has preceded him to Damascus. Inherent in his words is the fear he must have been feeling in the wake of this call by God to reach out to a man he would have considered a mortal enemy. And we can easily forget that without Ananias’ willingness to answer his call, the completion of Saul’s conversion experience would not have happened.
On the first two Sundays of May, we will be examining both call stories within the larger story in worship. This will allow us to think about how God’s call can happen in our lives—perhaps a call like Saul’s that is so spectacular it takes us in a totally different direction on our life journey. Or maybe we are sensing a quieter call like Ananias’ to overcome our fear in order to reach out to a person we’ve been avoiding, even for very good reasons. In either case, there is much to be learned from this familiar story. I hope you will join us for this series we are calling “Change Happens!”