Saul on the Road to Damascus

Saul on the Road to Damascus
Easter 3; Acts 9:1-20
There vision failed him and his old self died.
“Why do you persecute me, Saul?” Christ said.
His zeal, thrown in the dust, will rise again,
devoted to the work of Christ instead.
Simply awesome, isn’t it:
when one so sure of being right
sees mystery increased?
Here’s new life strange as any myth
where gold, we’re told, is spun from straw,
and love transforms the beast.
The risen Christ has overturned Paul’s world
as though the earth had shifted in its place.
His prior learning came to seem a shape
reflected dimly, now seen face to face.
Simply awesome, isn’t it:
as though magnetic north has flipped
and compasses turned round?
Here’s new life strange as under sea
with creatures dancing in the deep
to whale song so profound.              
Free now to be Christ’s fool, he changed his name
from Saul to Paul, and re-assessed his pride
to boast of weakness partnered with Christ’s strength.
Now faith not law will see him justified.
Simply awesome, isn’t it:
how dry dead seed that’s lost in earth
can spring up to the skies?
Here’s new life strange as prophecy,
for male or female, slave or free
are equal in Christ’s eyes.

Paul spoke to one and all of life transformed:
how sight was lost in light and then restored.
His tunnel vision opened to the one
he once despised, who now became his Lord.
Simply awesome, isn’t it:
that Christ should love this enemy 
and call him to new birth?
Here’s new life hard as labour pains,
as all creation groans to bring
new heaven and new earth.
     Barbara Messner c. 2014 revised 2019, 2022

2 thoughts on “Saul on the Road to Damascus

  1. (I can’t resist) Simply awesome. And your words remind me why I so often go for breakfast on the beach with Jesus instead of the Damascus Road.


  2. The supervision session after breakfast was pretty searching! The questions to Peter are as confronting as the question to Saul! I remember a colleague preaching on “Feed my sheep!” when I was at my lowest ebb as assistant curate, and I cried for the rest of the day – I felt so empty myself, and I imagine Peter did too! This week I thought about working with the image of old age and being taken where we don’t want to go, but I chickened out!


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