Day 30: Mutual Friends
Day 30: DNA: Divine Now Assured
Tuesday (While looking for images for this text I googled "mutual friends." The images were interesting--and FaceB
ook has lots to say about mutual friends--so I thought, "FaceBook is actually helping to spread God's Good News without even knowing it.")
Quoted from Acts 9.26-31 (NRSV)
When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Every morning I feel excitement about writing these devotions. A few of you have asked how I do this. Actually, it is all by God’s grace. I believe God’s grace is in our DNA, and prayer activates it. Thank you for your suggestions and responses.
Saul’s conversion was dramatic. He goes from persecuting those who follow Jesus to joining their cause. His old friends want to kill him and his new ones do not trust him. So Barnabas steps in to advocate for Saul. We all need a Barnabas in our lives. Someone who sees in us what others might not, and therefore helps us to be what God really designed us to be. Have you ever had a Barnabas in your life?
Yesterday we talked about how the early church had no physical temple. We mentioned how Saul, once he becomes Paul will constantly refer to the body as a Temple, or a place where God resides. It is increasingly evident to me that Saul’s conversion is not “either/or” thinking. He does not go from persecuting followers of Jesus to persecuting Jews—he wants “both/and.” He wants his new friends and his old ones to love each other. So his loyalty is to God’s way, that way is always love.
Richard Rohr talks a great deal about the image we try to portray of ourselves that is what he calls our “shadow self”—the person we want others to think we are. I think Saul was Paul’s shadow self. Rohr wants to help us see and honor our true selves. Can we look at ourselves and other people as Barnabas looked at Saul? Can we see the image of God in everyone? (Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, STRENGTH TO LOVE is helpful to understand his philosophy of nonviolence. It explains well how a divine loving presence can help eliminate social evil.)
Recap Prayer: Dear Lord, You transformed Saul into Paul allowing him to use his unique gifts in a way that empowered and blessed, rather than separated and excluded. Help us this day to see how we can use our unique gifts from You to release Your healing love and compassion on this earth as in heaven. Amen.