Monday, January 25, 2010

The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the day that we celebrate Saul's conversion, the act that would eventually make him Paul, probably the greatest evangelist ever. It's important to remember what Saul of Tarsus had been doing up to that point: persecuting Christians. One of the things I love about Christianity is that God can use absolutely anyone. No one is too dreadful, provided that they have this kind of epiphany moment that Saul experiences.

When I was younger, I would have turned up my nose at this feast day. I HATED Paul. In fact, I stayed away from church for a few years in my late 20's and early 30's, because I had decided that the church was more devoted to Paul than to Christ. And I could still make that case about some of them.

It's helped to have some scholarly insight. Many of the letters of Paul that I see as most damaging, most supportive of the status quo of empire and patriarchy, we now think that most of those letters weren't written by Paul. Paul's writing was much more egalitarian. There's some school of thought that medieval writers revised some of them to make them less egalitarian. It would be interesting to learn Greek, to see for myself what has been done.

But my life right now doesn't lend itself to learning Greek. I'll rest secure in the knowledge that the Paul that my 19 year old self hated is not the real Paul. The real Paul is quite amazing. To think about what he accomplished just makes me tired and makes me feel a bit inadequate, truth to tell.

We've spent weeks now embroiled in efforts to get a handle on our church budget. Some part of me thinks it would be easier to be Paul: come in, set up a church, go to the next town, set up a church. Those of us left behind have to figure out what it means for our daily lives.

Today might be a good day to meditate on Road to Damascus experiences. Have you ever had that kind of experience, where your life was turned around with a flash of light? I'm not sure I really have. I've felt God revealed in much smaller movements, those still, small voices in the night.

Today might be a good day to ponder where we need that light of revelation. Today might be a good day to pray that God show us where we need a revolution, a rotation, a change, in our way of thinking and acting.

No comments: