Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) (NRSV)
Chapter 9Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest Verse 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Verse 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. Verse 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Verse 5He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Verse 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." Verse 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Verse 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. Verse 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Verse 10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." Verse 11The 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, Verse 12and 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." Verse 13But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; Verse 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name." Verse 15But 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; Verse 16I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." Verse 17So 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." Verse 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, Verse 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, Verse 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
Everyone expects a story of some life altering event upon which one suddenly understood God’s claim upon one’s life. Saul had this Damascus Road experience. Martin Luther had the lightning bolt: “Help me St. Anne, and I shall become a Monk!” My own call story seems boring—long hours spent on a tractor as a kid contemplating the nature of God; the cumulative influence of pastors, Sunday school teachers or other mentors; outdoor ministry experiences; and long conversations with friends that gave me nudges. “You’d be good at that,” they would say when I expressed my thoughts about becoming a pastor. It was less about flash and drama, more about listening. So, when I read these words in Acts, “You will be told what you are to do,” I find comfort in that.
“What is your call story?” I’m listening still. Are you?
Tune us, O God, to listen. Teach us to block out the competing noises of this world, or to at least hear in them your presence and power, that we might at length hear your call upon us. Amen.