Lights Along The Way
When I lived on Maui, I would often take our communal early 90’s Chevy Lumina for a night drive. Our old white minivan would squeak along reeking of the teriyaki chicken that we once spilled across its floorboards on our way home from the county fair and the raspberry air fresheners that we used to attempt to mask the smell. With the windows down, I would drive into town through the cool and quiet sugar cane fields and then along the white lights of the resorts. Tracing that path is one of my favorite rituals.
In Acts 9, we are introduced to a new path.
Last week we discussed Jesus’ post-ressurection appearances to his disciples in a locked room. Jesus twice invaded their presence, bringing peace and urging them to be witnesses of his wounds and resurrection. He also sent them out into the world with the Holy Spirit to live fully as God had revealed life in Jesus–– to love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest.
When we pick up the story in Acts 9, Jesus’ disciples now belong to the “The Way,” a movement of women and men following in the way of life revealed by Jesus. This time, however, Jesus doesn’t appear to his disciples, but to someone who was directly threatening and imprisoning followers of “The Way.” His name was Saul.
In Acts 9, Luke writes, “During the journey, as he approached Damascus, suddenly a light encircled Saul. He fell to the ground and heard a voice asking him, “Saul, why are you harassing me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you are harassing. Now get up and enter the city. You will be told what you must do.”
I think most of us have had a least a few “What am I doing here?” moments, in which we question the path we currently find ourselves on. Yet, as difficult as it may be to remind ourselves in the moment, Acts 9 teaches us that whether we are on “The Way” or against it, Jesus pursues each of us on the path we are on. In this story, Jesus stops Saul in his tracks and sends Ananias on his own path to heal and transform Saul’s life.
So, whether we’re driving a 90’s Chevy Lumina with the windows down, locking ourselves away in our homes, or trudging in religious routine, Jesus’ lights are present on the most unexpected of routes.