Yesterday, Sunday we had seventh day in the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity and here in Canterbury we were praying especially for the New Life Church led by Pastor Aaron Berko and for the people of St Andrew’s United Reformed Church led by Reverend Bernard Fidder.
Today on the final day of the Octave we are praying for the people of St Peter’s Methodist Church led by Reverend Tim Nicholls, the Religious Society of Friends in Canterbury led by Terry Woods and of course we pray for our own parish community of St Thomas of Canterbury remembering especially Father John Howard and myself.
Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. St Luke in Acts describes Paul’s conversion in chapter 9 and then reports Paul’s narration of his conversion story in Acts 22. In Acts 26 Paul is before Agrippa he again relayed his story. When Paul is writing to the Galatians he talks about his dramatic conversion
“Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagan”
What attracts me to Paul is his honesty about how inadequate he knew himself to be as an instrument to the Good News. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7–10.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
I used this quote on my ordination card.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7–10 (RSVCE): Paul writes
‘And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
I am, these days, very aware of my own weakness and shortcoming which if I am not careful could overwhelm me and bring me down. Lord give me a deeper awareness of your grace and strength and that may be an instrument of the Good News