Sunday, May 1, 2022

Road to Damascus - Acts 9

The Road to Damascus

Tony E Dillon Hansen

Sermon based upon Revelations 5:11-14, Psalm 30 and Acts 9: 1-20

Opening prayer

This is a conversion story for two people encountering Jesus in different ways.

We know the feeling of working on something and then something just strikes us odd or different.  We can’t explain it or quite picture it, but what we have been doing is somehow needing to change. We have been a path that has worked for us, but something changes. No reason why. Its a phone call, there’s been an accident, the layoff after 15 years, a visit to the doctor, the season-ending injury or parents trying to teach children. 

You see and feel the difficult; we must meet the moment. 

Good thing is that we will and we are not alone. With a team, you work through the fog. You hear, learn, and grow together. Then finally it happens, the promised land - something you never anticipated arrives. With some help, we find understanding; we find gifts.

From wherever you are on life’s journey, encountering God converts hearts into new ways and new life: seeing with grace, love and extravagant welcome.

Sometimes, people refuse to see, but God continues, tickles us and speaks to us. In fact, Jesus has supper with the doubting and deniers.

There will always be someone that threatens because they have not experienced this life. They only know broken and confronting culture. They deny because they have not experienced how Jesus challenges that brokenness with new life. Thus, the encounter of Jesus is counter-cultural. It’s personal and communal. 

As Christians, give that life that experience to your neighbors through listening and welcoming love. Why?

“If Christ is the body of God, which he is, then the bread offered is also the body of the cosmos. Look deeply and you notice the sunshine in the bread, the blue sky in the bread, the cloud and the great earth in the bread. . . . You eat it in such a way that you become alive, truly alive.” We do Christian so that when people see us they have no doubt that Jesus is here in us - revealed in what we say and do.

Thus, Saul encounters Jesus with Ananias - real people with very different viewpoints. The Lord speaks to Ananias and lays out plans for Saul. Ananias has heard a lot about this one. You can almost hear the “no way - not this one.”  Yet, Ananias listens and does what is asked. Saul gains sight.

Ananias revealed Jesus to Saul. Where would Saul be without Ananias? Where would you be without that someone who helped you?  Where would you be without community? 

Better yet, how can we be that encounter in our community ? 

Help turned someone’s “mourning into dancing” through listening and welcoming. Have faith that the holy spirit will take the worst and change that to good. That is the power here. Paul, where he is on life’s journey, is welcomed with the power of the holy spirit (with the help of Ananias.)

Life is full of challenges and grief, but we evolve. Hope is tangible and a gift to be discovered and encountered with the spirit. Sunshine in the bread.

You who question, you who doubt and you who put up curtains to keep out the light of God, find God peaking into your heart to reveal to you through each other.

God is pouring love over you! 

Beloved, open your eyes to see all that is so beautiful in creation. Beloved, you who are hurting, be healed. You, who are wondering, see that you too are beautiful; you are a child of God.

Be that child for those around you and let God surround you and be you. Close your eyes and hear Jesus calling you.

Even when everything is lost, find Jesus! Believe there is someone to help - by the grace of God, yes by the grace of God - Experience the dramatic change from refusal to full embracing love.

Don’t take it from me; take it from God! Experience the risen Jesus in your heart and open your eyes Beloved!

Thanks Be to God

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