I pray that you are all staying safe and healthy. Unfortunately this new way of life is lasting much longer than anyone previously thought. I never imagined having to line up outside of the grocery store wearing my mask and anxiously waiting my turn to shop. While I was standing outside of Wegmans this past week, I looked at all the children's truck and tractor carts lined up along the side of the building, not being used. Every Sunday after church our family would go to Wegmans and Dave would go hunting throughout the parking lot for one of those carts. Even then I sanitized the cart, and we went on our way shopping while the kids fought about who had more room and Dave and I looked at each other like, "let's just get what we need and go." Little did I know how minor the germs were that I was sanitizing against in comparison to what we have to wipe away today. Grocery shopping might have seemed like an exhausting family trip, but I would go back to those days in a second. Standing in line and staring at the tractor carts, I could only wonder when we would once again be able to use one without fear.
Many things that we look at on a daily basis these days naturally evoke a sense of fear: the news, social media articles, people walking by our houses wearing masks and working hard to avoid each other. These are not comforting images. Today, as we learn about the conversion of Saul, we can be encouraged to try seeing with our hearts instead of just our eyes. If we look through the lens of our hearts, formed by an Almighty ever-loving God, the scary images around us may seem a little less frightening. As with Paul, God had a plan for him that no one could have predicted, especially Paul himself. But his heart was transformed, and so too will ours be if we stop looking with our eyes and start trusting with our hearts.
Scripture for this week: Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)
A Notation for This Week's Story: Today we hear the story of Saint Paul's conversion. Saul, as Saint Paul was known before this time, is traveling to go and hurt Christians. Jesus comes to him on the journey and confronts him and invites him to love instead of hurt. Jesus does this for each of us, inviting us to follow him
Opening Prayer:Jesus we thank you that you are not far from us and that you come to us in special ways. Help us to know you are with us. Amen.
Saul was still wanting to stop the disciples and went to get the okay from the police to arrest them. He set off on his journey and when he got to the outside of the city of Damascus, he suddenly saw a blinking flash of light. He fell to the ground and then heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?" Saul asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, the one who you are trying to stop. Go and enter the city and you will be told what to do." His companions stood there amazed because they could hear the sounds, but could not see anyone. Saul picked himself up off the ground and found that even though his eyes were open, he could not see. His friends took him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He was blind for three days and he did not eat or drink. There was a follower of Jesus in Damascus whose name was Ananias. God came to him in a vision and said, "Get up and go to a street called Straight. Go to the house of Judas and ask for Saul." Ananias answered, "Lord, how can you really want me to do that? He has been mean to the people of Jerusalem and he wants to do the same to the people here." But God said, "Do not argue. I am going to use Saul as someone who can tell everyone about following God." So Ananias went and found Saul and placed his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, Jesus, whom you saw on the way here, has sent me to you. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." As soon as he spoke, Saul could see again and he jumped to his feet, was baptized, and ate a large meal. Saul spent time getting to know the other disciples and went to work preaching about Jesus the Son of God.
Supplies needed for the lesson:
-goggles or sunglasses
-black(or dark) construction paper or fabric
After you have read the scripture together, you can get out your supplies. Use the construction paper or fabric to cover the glasses or goggles so that your child cannot see if they look forward. Then try to get they to do a simple task like picking something up off the ground or walking to a certain part of your home.
Let's make connections!
Was it hard to be "blind"?
How did it feel?
Did you have to rely on other senses besides your sight?
Not only was Saul blinded physically by God, but before that he was blind in his heart to the love of God.
When we are blind to the love of God we can also feel as scared as we would if we are blind in our eyes.
Paul's life completely changed after he opened his heart to the love of God.
How is your life different when your heart can see and feel God working?
Can we feel less scared if we look at things with our heart, where God lives within us?
I hope you got to have a little fun while learning about the story of Saul/Paul! Here's a closing prayer to end the lesson:
Jesus, thank you for your patience and loving kindness. Please help us to open the eyes of our hearts so that we can see your love clearly and follow your ways. In Jesus name, Amen.
Just a note:
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