As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Acts 9:10-19a (NRSV)
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas 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 to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
One of the bravest characters in the biblical record is a fellow named Ananias. He is described quite modestly as a “disciple in Damascus.” Ananias was the recipient of a divine message. He received a vision from the Lord concerning a man about whom everyone in the Damascus church had heard—Saul of Tarsus—the fire-breathing Pharisee who was out for blood! God told Ananias to go to this feared man who was staying in the home of a fellow named Judas on the street called Straight. Now this wasn’t the Judas Iscariot of the disciple band, obviously, and Judas was evidently a fairly common name. But still, the irony is hard to escape.
Ananias was no push-over, even in a conversation with the Lord! He wanted no part of Saul. But the Lord was insistent, assuring Ananias that at that very moment Saul was having a vision in which Ananias was coming to heal his sight. The risen Christ further told Ananias that he would show this Saul “how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” He who had persecuted the name of Christ now must himself suffer persecution for that name!
When Ananias reached the house of Judas, he laid his hands on Saul as he had been told. The first words out of his mouth were, “Brother Saul.”
O God, you chose a simple disciple to be the agent of healing and welcome for the one who would become the great apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. May we, too, be used in some way for your high purpose. Amen.
Go with God.