You Are Welcome Here
Pastor Susan's Notes
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Acts 9:17-19a
As we are in Eastertide for the month of May, we re-discover many of the people who spread the name and ministry of Jesus after the resurrection. It is known in scholarly circles that Saul was of Jewish descent. The Biblical narrative above is part of Paul’s experience on the way to Damascus as he was searching for followers of The Way (ie. Jesus followers) to beat, imprison or kill them. After he was healed in the name of Jesus – whose voice he heard when he was blinded – Paul became one of the most prolific evangelists for Christ. His name, in Latin, was Paul, and so he used this name, especially when it came to speaking with the Gentiles who would have been familiar and comfortable with that kind of name. Paul could approach them, without judgement of his given name, to teach them about Jesus.
In these days of turmoil and confusion may we find ourselves using the name of Jesus for healing and helping those who are seeking a believing church to call “home.” When I read the Confirmation student draft Statements of Faith what came through is how they feel comfortable and safe with the people of the congregation; in church they find a sense of peace.
A verse in the hymn, There is a Balm in Gilead, reads: If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, you can tell the Love of Jesus, who died to save us all. I do not ask we change our names, or who we are, to be ‘welcomed’ when we share our experience of Jesus and His Love! I encourage you, though, to pray about and consider actively sharing your experience of Jesus and His Love as you invite others to the church we call “home.”
May we be blessed in this Eastertide and in this Spring season of renewal.