• First Congregational Church Winter Park

Daily Meditation: "Beyond Hatred"

Friday, August 28, 2020



SCRIPTURE

“The Lord said to Ananias in a vision, ‘Go to the house of Judas and look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done.’” - Acts 9:10-13


REFLECTION

Oh yeah, Saul sure hated those Christians. He was good at his job, and he took it seriously. Saul, as a devout Jew, took extreme offense at these Jews and emerging Gentiles that presumed to be part of God’s Chosen by following this man who claimed to be Messiah in a way that was so contrary to the Messiah he was waiting for and believed in. He hated these Christians, and he made their lives absolutely miserable.


Ananias knew it. Jesus sent him to give Saul his sight back, regardless. The story of the man who then became Paul is history.


I have a hunch Ananias didn’t like Saul too much. He must have been incredibly confused by Jesus’ command in his vision. Saul?!? That guy? I’ve heard about him, Jesus. He’s not a good person AT ALL. “How much evil he has done,” Ananias says. Jesus doesn’t deny that. Jesus just goes on to say, “Well, this is the guy I’ve chosen to be my instrument so the Gentiles get to know me, as well as kings and the people of Israel.” So, go help him out Ananias.


And he does.


What Ananias gives Saul, who then becomes Paul, overcomes Hate. He lays his hands upon Paul’s eyes and gives him his sight back. Saul gets baptized. His whole life changes, and thus changes the lives of countless people around the Mediterranean and our lives all these millennia later. These two men came together in an environment of hate towards one another and gave one another a new hope beyond hate. Jesus challenged Ananais to overcome his mistrust and hatred to gift Saul with a new sight. Saul was challenged to literally become a new person and live the rest of his life evangelizing that which he previously sought to destroy. They both did what Jesus challenged them to do and, in overcoming their hatred, they broadened the Realm of God and changed the world.


Imagine what we could do if we did the same.


PRAYER

God of Love, Savior of Hope, help us to overcome Hatred so we might help bring about your loving Realm on Earth as it is in Heaven.


Amen.


Peace,

Shawn

First Congregational Church of Winter Park

407-647-2416​

225 S. Interlachen Avenue

Winter Park, FL  32789

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