Thursday, January 25, 2007

According to our Anglican Cycle of Prayer, this is the day to remember and give thanks for the Apostle Paul's Conversion.

O God, who by the preaching of your apostle Paul have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Where would the Christian church be without Paul's influence? I doubt that it would exist. When I was a Baptist, I heard more about Paul than I did about Jesus, one of the first things that caused me to question the priorities of the denomination. Favorite Pauline passages were used by chauvinistic pastors to subdue women and elevate men, and for a while, I bristled whenever his name was mentioned. I still feel ambivalent whenever I hear him being venerated.

Nevertheless, I'm grateful for Paul and his ministry. The church he helped establish was founded on love, love for God, love for others, the Gentiles, especially. His sharing of the Good News in Christ has led to monumental accomplishments and advancements, as well as the persecution and oppression of those deemed "other."

My wrestling with Paul resulted in the blessing I needed, but also with a wound to remind me of that struggle. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in him.

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