Day 1: From Damascus to Emmaus
Amidst persecution, many Christians had fled Jerusalem. Their passion was matched by Paul's, travelling 150 miles to Damascus in Syria to bring these believers back in chains.
Reflect: Are you somebody who wishes for dramatic experiences of God? In my life, having a faith has not been like that. In fact, sometimes I have wondered if God is even there at all. When we doubt God, we long that He might come in such obvious ways as Saul's Damascus experience. A life-changing heaven-charged illumination to stop me in my tracks. Perhaps I'm not the only one who looks upon a dramatic conversion experience many years ago and longs to sense God so obviously again?
This is no way to live a life of faith however, always reverting to a dusty source of hopeful reflection. Our testimony needs to be unfolding, organic, finding God in the meanderings of our choices, our relationships and dare I say, our regrets. He knows us and more importantly, as with Saul along the road, He knows exactly where we are on the map - geographically and spiritually.
As a runner I rely upon my GPS and today's passage assures us that we are always upon God's GPS.
Going deeper, why do I want this Damascus experience? Do I want evidence to boost my ideas or arguments of miracles to destroy any challenger of faith? Saul was skilled at that, equipped to destroy what were in his opinion, false claims, and delusions of followers of Jesus. Would it not be more useful to get to the source of this issue which I believe is one of confidence, power, and authority? When on the ground confronted by this power, Saul moved from a 'true' to a 'who?' question.
If we could liberate God from our demands and expectations, allowing him to become noticed by us as we travel, we might gain a fuller and more healthy understanding of 'who' He really is. He is not a magic show, always arriving by fire and noticeably having 'left the building' later. He is often a God who comes alongside, as Christ did on the Emmaus Road; a listener, adviser, sociable bread-breaking guest, whose presence may be found at the meal table as much as the altar. What a gift; a God who comes alongside us in Jesus, allowing himself to be known.
Prayer: Ever Present Jesus, help me to notice you in the ordinary events of today. Amen.