Acts 9:1-6 [7-20] (NRSV)
One of the most dramatic stories of the Bible is Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (so beautifully portrayed by the the artist Caravaggio). It shows that no one is too far away from God, if that person allows himself or herself to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that most people need to have some intense experience (better known as being whacked up side the head with a 2×4) to knock some sense into them. Japan was another example nearing the end of WWII. The question is, do we, or you, need to have something like that to gain our attention?
Psalm 30 (NRSV)
Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness
A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
Revelation 5: 11-14 (NRSV)
We will worship the Lamb that was slain whether we want to or not. Most people are still like children in that they want to do everything all by themselves. Sometimes we don’t get that and have to go through everything imaginable before we even consider letting go and letting God work in our lives. Saul/Paul had the wisdom to not question (at least after God got his attention). I’ve had that happen to me before in a two part stage. By the time the second half started up I was like “Okay, I’m not questioning whatever happens. He wants me to do ‘whatever’ then I’ll do it.”
People don’t want to give up control, and that’s the one and only reason.
John 21:1-19 (NRSV)
This whole first scene is rather interesting. Several of the disciples went back to what they were familiar with: fishing. The telling thing is that even with their experience, they caught nothing. I think God might have been telling them that that part of their lives had ended. Only after Jesus told them to lower their nets again did they catch anything. God controls our destiny whether we like it or not. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to our choices. Like a parent towards a child, or your pet towards yourself, the older and wiser one knows what’s going on. I like to think of it as seeing how your cat or dog reacts when we take them to the vet. They don’t understand what’s going on and are confused and don’t like the poking and prodding, but we do. We know they’ll be better off in the long run. The same is our relationship to God. We don’t understand what’s going on and are confused and don’t like the poking and prodding, but God does. God knows that we’ll be better off in the long run.
That’s the key. We need to let go and let God take over so we don’t have to worry about it anymore. The question is, can you, or I do that?