I am currently reading a biography of St. Paul the Apostle written by the brilliant Tom Wright. The vivid picture painted by Wright of the world of Saul of Tarsus and his dramatic conversion, has me gripped.
Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was merely in my peripheral vision until I came to read this book. After listing some of the possible and commonly suggested ‘real’ reasons for Paul’s vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, such as too much sun or an epileptic fit, Wright says: “Supposing... supposing it was more than this?’
Supposing Paul truly saw such a strong and literally blinding vision that he went from being a man bent on suppression of the Christian movement, to becoming an Apostle. For Paul to change so radically the experience must surely have been incredibly real for him. The last thing Saul of Tarsus intended as he travelled along the road, a Jewish man to the core, was to experience the risen Christ. Sometimes the spiritual answer is the one that makes most sense.
This Sunday's reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans sees him talking about the Spirit of God and how our encounter with the Spirit changes everything; who we are and what we are. He makes a clear distinction between the spiritual and the physical, something we do not tend to do in the secular landscape in which we live today. These days we tend to inhabit only the physical. In Paul’s letter, he demands that the Romans look at their spiritual beings as their true selves in Christ, as their lives depend upon it.
There is joy in accepting Christ into your life. In the Gospel reading from Matthew, who was a tax collector before he met Jesus, we hear how Jesus carries our burdens if we let him. He did this at Easter and does so today. As Christians, we can give all we bear to Christ and have faith that all will be well. It takes some practice, but amazing grace is to be found in surrendering ourselves to Christ.
Come, Holy Spirit, and make us more aware of our spiritual selves. We ask for your help as we endeavour to open our hearts to you and surrender to God’s love. Come, Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today's Readings: Zechariah 10:9-10 Psalm 144 Romans 8:9,11-13 Matthew 11:25-30
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