April 8, 2016

Dear FUMC Family,

Happy Friday!  I hope you are doing well.  I hope you’ll plan to join us on Sunday in worship as we continue exploring what it means to be the Resurrection Church.  Last week we looked at Peter’s speech before the Jerusalem Council in Acts 5 (if you missed it, you can listen to last Sunday’s sermon here).  This Sunday, we’ll move ahead to Acts 9:1-20 to hear the story of Saul’s conversion to Paul.

 

In the reading Saul, the greatest persecutor of the early Church, sees a heavenly light, hears the voice of Jesus, and is converted on a road outside Damascus.  By the end of the chapter, the same man who had worked to arrest Christians and drag them back to Jerusalem  finds himself with a new name and a new mission, proclaiming, “Jesus is the Son of God.”

Notice what happens: Saul is blinded and is immemdiately sent by Jesus to Ananias, a Christian living nearby.  New Testament Scholar Mary Schertz suggests that Ananias is as important to Saul’s conversion as the light from heaven and the appearance of Jesus.  She writes, “The insight that Saul claims, that Jesus is the Son of God, is not a private matter between him and Jesus: It took a community.”

Paul goes on the become one of the most important figures of the Apostolic age: founding many churches in Asia Minor and writing many of the letters that comprise our New Testament today.  And as important as Paul was, we could say the same about Ananias – who encouraged and nurtured Saul, helping him proclaim his faith in Christ.   Without Ananias would there have been a Paul at all?

It takes community to live the life of faith.  We need one another.  That’s why one of our core values at First UMC is focusing on relationships.  We know that if we are going to grow in our faith, we need strong relationships with one another. Who helps strengthen and encourage your faith walk with Jesus?  Who do you help and encourage?  Is there someone who might need your help right now?

I hope you’ll join us on Sunday as we consider these questions.  They are at the heart of what it means to be a Resurrection Church, believing and living the Easter faith together.  It’s going to be a great morning together as our children’s choirs and youth bell choir will be leading us in worship.  See you then.

In Christ,

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