Acts 9:1-6 (NIVUK)
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
5 ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 6 ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’
I can’t help but be struck by reading the name Damascus here. Damascus is, of course, the capital city of Syria, the worn torn country that is so much in the news at the moment. As Saul, the chief persecutor of the early Christians came here to hunt them down, Jesus met him in a dramatic way, intervening and turning his life around. Soon he would become the chief missionary for the Christians! Perhaps we need such an intervention again today…
Lord, intervene in Syria once more we pray, turning persecutors into peace-preachers, trouble makers into kingdom-builders.
Today’s New testament in a Season readings: Acts 8-10