Paul said, “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.” – Acts 22:6 (NRSVUE)
The Book of Acts gives us the story of Paul’s conversion twice, first in the third person and later in Paul’s voice. It’s a story so well-known that we use the phrase “a Damascus Road experience” to describe those moments of realization, whether about ourselves or others or God, that knock us to our knees or pierce our awareness like a bolt of lightning. Saul, a proud persecutor of Jesus’ followers, gets up as Paul, the most famous disciple of them all.
I imagine Paul, like any of us, telling and retelling the story of his inflection point, the details slightly scrambled until the narrative meets the way things unfolded afterwards. By Chapter 22, it’s noon in the story, the sun’s light as high as it will get, a symbol of the enormity of the change to his identity and purpose.
In my life, there have been lesser Damascus lights—more like the moments when the road bends and you are driving into a glare, when you must take stock of the situation quickly. What are the risks? What has changed? What new way of being must we embrace in response to God’s demanding love, the invitation we can no longer refuse? Such realizations and revelations in my life have pointed spotlights at a call to ministry, the end of a marriage, and the bonanza of realizing God loves me as I am because God made me.
Saul’s zeal to persecute became Paul’s energetic evangelism. What else will change when we meet God at High Noon?
Holy One, open us to see the ways you appear in our lives and to receive the invitation you offer. Amen.