Acts 9: 1-22

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Easter 3C (2016)

    by Doug Bratt
    C.S. Lewis was among the most famous Christian authors of the twentieth century. He, however, initially paid virtually no attention to the Lord. Lewis was, in fact, a virulent opponent of Christianity until God graciously got his attention in 1931. He later called his conversion the result of “the steady, unrelenting approach of him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.”
  • The Conversion of Saul

    by Joanna Harader
    Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor, known for her multiple tattoos, her use of profanity, and her sarcastic humor. Once upon a time she had a Saul-like conversion, was saved from a rough and destructive life. She found herself drawn to the church, yet never quite at home. And when she eventually came to be a pastor, she wanted to lead a church where people from backgrounds like hers would feel comfortable, would feel welcome. So this cursing, tattooed pastor starts a church and sure enough, the people you think might show up did, in fact, show up. Recovered and not-quite-recovered drug addicts, misfits and artistic types, gay and transgendered people. Lots of young people. Lots of tattoos and piercings in the crowd.
  • Easter 3C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("The mystery of grace. In later years Paul could not talk enough about what he often referred to as "the mystery of grace". It is the gospel truth that when it is all said and done, God saves people not according to their merits, not because of their background, piety, skin color, ethnicity, or high moral standards but just by grace alone and against all odds...")
  • Two of the Sweetest Words Ever Spoken

    by Peter Marty
    Larry Trapp was the Grand Dragon of the Nebraska Ku Klux Klan. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Larry Trapp took great joy in harassing Jewish people, immigrants, and people of color. He made threatening phone calls, sent out hate mail, and encouraged his followers to commit acts of violence against non-white and Jewish people. But Larry Trapp made a mistake when he picked on Michael and Julie Weissner in his home town of Lincoln, NE. Michael was the cantor of the local synagogue, and Trapp let loose on Michael with a string of nasty words over the phone. "You'll be sorry you ever moved into that house, Jew boy. The KKK is watching you, scum."
  • The God of Second Chances

    by Jim McCrea
    ("one of our favorite bands was Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart. They performed at that concert and their leader, Mylon LeFevre, told a lurid story of his life in rock and roll. He has been raised in a Christian family, but quit having anything to do with Christianity from the time he was 17 until some 19 years later, when he ultimately dedicated his life to Christ...")
  • Blindsided

    by Larry Patten
    Back* in 2009, The Blind Side made wheelbarrows of money and garnered Sandra Bullock an Oscar. I recently watched it again. The film’s title refers to a football team’s need to protect a quarterback’s blind side. Nasty things can happen when a quarterback focuses on a receiver while an unseen opponent approaches to thwart the play. But it’s more than a football phrase.
  • Easter 3C

    from Sacra Conversazione
    The church is a community of those ordained to witness and convey the love of God as the ones who have first-hand experience of that love for themselves. Kathryn Tanner calls those who understand themselves this way as “the ministers of divine benefit.” In Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity, she writes: “…the ministers of divine benefit should therefore be as wide as God’s gift-giving purview. In this universal community, humans should try to distribute the gifts of God as God does without concern for whether they are especially deserved by their recipients...
  • Jesus, the New and Living Way

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reminds us of how our suffering can be redemptive...")

Resources from 2019 and 2020

  • Blinded

    by David Russell
  • Double Vision

    Video with Eric Anderson
  • Redemption

    by Craig Condon
  • Who Are You, Lord?

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Ananias and the Great Reversal

    by Doug Donley
    There’s a story from the early days of the Nicaraguan Revolution. In 1979, former members of the National Guard, trained in the US, were imprisoned for their brutal treatment of their countrymen and women under the dictator Samoza. Sandinista general Tomas Borge met his former tormentor on the other side of the bars. It is said that he looked his former captor in the eyes and said, “For all of the evil you have done, I sentence you to a life of forgiveness.” And he set his former captor free. In the process, he set himself free too...
  • Exegesis (Acts 9:1-20)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Blinded by the Light

    by Marci Glass
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Oneness in Christ

    by Louise Kalemkerian
  • Easter 3C

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Sermon Starters (Easter 4C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    There are two ways to make a U turn. You can do it the way the street racers do in the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise—at top speed with smoking tires in an instant in the middle of a busy street. Or you can do it the way the country singer described it in a classis old trucking song—“give me forty acres and I’ll turn this rig around.” Saul’s turn was fast and furious as he did a dramatic 180 from persecutor to preacher. Timothy’s was more gradual; from infancy he knew the “holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (II Timothy 3:15).” Both are legit. What’s crucial is that we make The Turn. And the turn depends on Christ...
  • Seeing with New Eyes

    by Jim McCrea
    One theologian describes that point of view in terms of an incident that appeared on a TV show about the travels of Michael Palin in the region of eastern Europe. Palin took a train from Hungary to Ukraine, but was required to stop at the border. ​ The delay had nothing to do with passports or customs. Instead, it was due to a security system installed long ago when the Soviet Union ruled the whole of Ukraine. They intentionally required the Ukrainian railway to be built using a different gauge from the rest of Europe as a means of helping to deter potential invaders. ​ That system meant that when a train came to the border of Ukraine, each car had to be lifted into the air by a crane so that the existing wheels could be unbolted and a new set of wheels could replace them. It was a cumbersome process which worked exactly as it was designed to slow down travel from neighboring countries. ​ Using that image, that theologian said, “Talking about the conversion of Paul can create the same sort of all or nothing picture, as if this experience on the road to Damascus is the point when the wheels come off his Jewish faith, to be replaced by a complete new set of Christian wheels so he can run on a Christian train track. ​​ “Telling the story that way makes it into a triumphalist tale of one faith defeating another. […] To our shame, this is often how the story of Paul has been told, fuelling the anti-Semitism that has repeatedly infected the Church over the centuries.”...
  • So Ananias Went (Acts 9)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    In this mosaic, Ananias completes his assigned task by baptizing Paul. The text is "Praecepto Christi baptizator Paulus ab Anania" ("At Christ's command, Paul is baptized by Ananias."). In this version, Paul is baptized in a water-filled chalice-shaped font, a shape popular in Romanesque churches, as the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descends from the hand of God. To Ananias' right a liturgical assistant holds a lit candle.
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Thomas O'Brien
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Amy Oden
  • Disney and the Gospels: Beauty and the Beast

    by Beth Quick
    At one point, Belle realizes using the Beast’s magic mirror that her father is stranded in the woods, trying to rescue her, and the Beast, who has fallen in love, lets her go to try to save him. Belle takes her father home. In the meantime, the townsfolk, scared of the Beast and riled up by the vain villain Gaston make their way to his castle to attack him. The Beast doesn’t defend himself, too sad that Belle has gone until he sees that she, too, has returned to the castle to try to protect him. He fights off Gaston, but Gaston stabs him in the back. The Beast seems to die, and Belle, distraught confesses her love for him, just as the last petal is falling from the rose. But she’s in time. The curse is broken, the prince and his servants return to their human forms, and of course, they all live happily ever after. I’ve been thinking about the Beast this week, and how he changes...
  • Responding to Jesus

    by Gregory Rawn
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Jay Sunberg

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