Week of Proper 16, Year Two
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) // 4, 7 (evening)
In today’s second reading, Saul (more famous by his Roman name, Paul) narrowly escapes a deadly plot. People are shocked at Saul’s sudden change of heart about Jesus Christ, and some of them begin “watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him.” However, Saul learns of the plot and knows better than to leave Damascus through the gates. In order for Saul to leave the city, “his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.”
So that’s how Saul gets out of Damascus and heads for Jerusalem: through an opening in the wall. But that’s just the first wall he needs to slip through. In Jerusalem itself, the disciples are suspicious and afraid of Saul, skeptical of his dramatic conversion. Barnabas, though, gives Saul an “in” with these disciples: “Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord.” Eventually, these disciples accept Saul’s company, and they even help him escape another threat to his life.
Like Saul, we may find ourselves facing walls that shut us in or keep us out. We may feel trapped and afraid in a city like Damascus, or suspicious and unwelcome in a city like Jerusalem. Can we pray and search for an opening in the wall? And, can we also be like the disciples who lower Saul through the wall in a basket, or like Barnabas who vouches for Saul, and help others make their way across barriers to freedom and fellowship? The gospel spreads so far and wide through even small openings in a wall.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.