Friday, January 29, 2010

tender mercies - part three

Continuing on with the story of Saul, the account in Acts does not mention what immediately followed his conversion and baptism. We read of that from Paul himself in Galations 1:17. He retired to the wilderness in the neighborhood of Damascus, at that time under the control of the king of Arabia, for thought and prayer. it may have been there that he had more visions and revelations of the Lord that he refers to in II Cor 12. When he does return to Damascus, he immediately begins to preach in the synogogue that Jesus is the Son of God. Everyone who heard him was amazed, because they only knew him as the one who had been persecuting the followers of Christ. Here he was speaking of this new Christianity right in the midst of the Jews.

He did this for about three years before the leaders of the Jews began to fear his influence and persuaded the governor to persecute Paul. But their plans to arrest him were known and his disciples, under cover of darkness, let him down over the city wall in a basket so he could escape. He who had come there to hunt Christians, was now being hunted himself.

It can seem puzzling and even upsetting to friends and family members when someone becomes a student of Christian Science and begins to think and act differently. Especially if that person then chooses to leave medicine behind and rely on prayer and Christian Science treatment. If that person had been a firm believer in the power of medicine and seemed to be getting temporary relief, there might be concern about the effects of stopping that. I know this was true in my own experience. But as time passed and I became healthier and happier, it was harder and harder for others to condemn my chosen religion for they could not deny the evidence of their own eyes.

Jesus sometimes told those who he had healed not to talk about it. I used to wonder about that but now I see the wisdom of taking time to study and pray and gain some understanding of how the healing had come about. We might not yet be ready to explain spiritual healing or answer sceptics. It is enough to work on changing our own thinking and beliefs, to begin to see God as all good, and to understand our relationship to Him as His beloved idea, His image and likeness as it is written in Genesis One. No one would expect a kindergartener, who is learning to add, to be able to explain quantum physics. We start with what we can understand and use it and then we are ready to move into more complicated mathematics. So it is with metaphysics.

Paul has barely begun his ministry. He will make several journeys all around the Mediterranian establishing churches. He will write a multitude of letters supporting their growth and advising them. We have many of those letters preserved in our Bible. Those who hate Paul and what he is teaching will continue to try to do him harm. The next part of our Bible Lesson tells of a great adventure when he is shipwrecked.

The Bible is so rich with characters. Paul is of major importance to the spread of Christianity. We should know his story and be familiar with his writings. Mrs. Eddy mentions him in Science and Health. She says: "To misunderstand Paul, was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught". Get to know him and treasure what God has done through him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you ever notice how Saul/Paul story has similarities to the story of Jesus?