Food for Thought-The Conversion of Paul (A Sermon in Verse) Acts 9

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Soft and tender my conversion was not,
Lying and dying on the Damascus road,
Persecuting Christians until they would rot,
I threw stones like a one armed orphan,
Yelling death threats while Christians were sewn,
My God did not look like this Jesus version,
He is not you and you are not he,
I am is not you and you are not me,
I am Saul,
Killer of Christians, keeper of law,
Enforcer of religious protocols,
Bearer of letters, traveler to the unclean,
Until,
I am taken to that place,
Down on the ground,
Silence,
Darkness,
I can no longer sense the reality of hate,
Someone asks,
“Why are you on my case?”
I don’t know who you are,
I know nothing about you or this place,
The voice replied,
“I am Jesus, the one you’ve been killing,
With stones,
Nails,
Crosses and whips.”
“Now take your descended darkness,
The beautiful absence of light,
Move forward in stark soullessness.
I am on Straight Street,
My life was straight,
In the blind darkness,
The lines dissolve, negate each other
Into unknown voices,
And unfamiliar hands,
Strange prayers,
In accents I don’t understand,
Muddled names,
Ananias!
A Christian sent to me,
By OUR God,
The most feared Christian killer,
Surely this is quite odd?
Would you have followed the divine will?
Unable to eat, unable to see,
One of my victims,
Has come for me,
Jesus’ vengeance, exacted without thought,
While I sleep the dark blind dreams,
Ananias!
Brother Saul!
I am his brother?
Not a killer or persecutor,
Tormentor and hater,
He must have thought me another,
I am self-righteous and angry,
Bloodied and confused,
Ananias says I am his brother.
How can this be?
What makes us kin?
The Jesus whom I pursued,
Those I’m trying to kill,
Over and more,
Beyond the before,
To Damascus and back,
Jesus makes brothers,
With the Holy Spirit,
Ananias brought the medicine of the soul,
Souls need eyes to see the world as it is,
In a moment,
Blindness died an easy death,
Scales fell from my eyes,
I woke from the longest sleep,
Gasping, groping for a first, free breath,
To speak a truth both simple and deep,
“He is God’s Son.”

–Richard Bryant

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