April 10, 2016

C20: The Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Jim Somerville

Have you ever heard the expression, “the scales fell from my eyes?” In today’s passage,  Acts 9:1-20, we meet Saul, later known as Paul. Jim Somerville, pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “The Acts of an Easter People,” based on Saul’s conversion story. The disciples were saying that Jesus was God’s anointed one and that God had raised Jesus from the dead, blaming the council for killing him. Saul could not believe this and persecuted Christians. He was on his way to Damascus to gather up some more Christians when Jesus appeared to him. Saul was blinded by a bright light and Jesus spoke to him. Somerville says that perhaps, “All he [Saul] could think was that he had been wrong about this whole thing. Dead wrong. The irony of it was that nobody had ever tried harder to be right. Following the letter of the law, scrupulously obeying the scriptures, passionately committed to his cause, ready to die for his beliefs. Saul had been struck down by the revelation that he was wrong, wrong, wrong about all of it.” Somerville reminds us that what we learn from Saul’s story “is that one of the ‘acts’ of an Easter people is humble repentance.” We all get it wrong. “If Saul, who later became the great apostle Paul, and Peter, the rock upon which the church would be built, was wrong, then you or I could be wrong too. How do we handle being wrong?

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