Going Deeper 4-30-19

​The first reading for Easter 3...
 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and 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.  Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"  He asked, "Who are you, Lord?"  The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."  The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.  Saul 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.  For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.  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.  For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."​

The conversion of Saul/Paul is without a doubt one of the most important events in all of history.  Now it was to be understood and proclaimed that God's family was to be inclusive, and all of His children were to move toward unity.  This huge paradigm shift changed the course of history, creating a movement that impacted the whole world, finally fulfilling the third part of God's covenant promises to Abraham that through his descendants "all the families of the earth will be blessed."

Paul was changed as drastically and dramatically as anyone ever could be.  Instead of being radically determined to obliterate the "Jesus movement"-- what was being called "The Way"-- Paul became the driving force of a worldwide movement to reach out to the Gentiles.  His life did not become easier in any way, shape or form... but his life was filled with purpose.

We are called to carry on the same work as Paul-- to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of grace to God's children everywhere.  At Zion, we have done this by supporting missions and missionaries as far away as India, Eastern Europe, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea.  We also have supported various missions around our country, through the LCMC, Lutheran Family Services, and other organizations, as well as through mission trips to New Orleans and the Pine Ridge Reservation.

It is my hope and prayer that we might be filled with greater urgency to reach out with the Gospel to our neighbors right here in our community.   We have impacted Wellington through a variety of ministries that demonstrate God's love in action.  Now we need to figure out more effective ways to share the Gospel and to bring into our family those who have little or no connection with our loving Father and Jesus our Savior.  Please join me in praying that God's Spirit would move among us and guide us in that mission.

With You in His Service, 
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."