The Conversion of St Paul

Vicar’s Reflection: 25th January 2015, the Conversion of St Paul

I have a book of visual puzzles. It has pictures in it that seem to make sense when viewed one way but if you focus on something different, or hold it at an angle suddenly the image changes completely. Instead of a young girl wearing a bonnet you see an old woman in a shawl; or a man playing a cornet becomes the face of a young girl. Nothing about the picture really changes except the way you perceive it. Conversion can be a bit like this. St Paul experienced a radical change in his perception of Jesus and his followers in the story recorded in Acts 9. This is one of three accounts of this incident in the Book of Acts, so it was obviously a very meaningful experience for him and the early church. After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus he suddenly realised that these rebellious heretics that he was arresting and sending to prison were precious human beings and joined is some essential way with Jesus the Son of God. Nothing was different except the way he perceived things and we know this changed how he acted afterwards. Through the Gospel of Jesus we are all invited to see the world in a different way. That means everything changes. Exploring the consequences of seeing things this way is what it means to become a Christian. It is the most exciting journey. Alex Czerwonka

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