A Magical Shift: Paul's Journey from 'Naughty' to 'Good'
Last week, Rev. David took us on a wonderful exploration of the intriguing life of Moses. This week, we voyage into the transformative tale of the Apostle Paul. Paul's change from being quite 'naughty' to incredibly 'good' holds essential lessons for all of us, no matter our age.
Our children's talk began with David's trusty bag and the big question: "What's in the bag?"
To everyone's surprise, it turned out to be another bag! But this was no run-of-the-mill bag - it was a magic bag! Joni was the first to dip her hand into the bag, retrieving a handkerchief with the word 'BAD' alongside a sad face. David took this opportunity to talk about how we can sometimes misbehave, a lot like a man named Paul. Paul used to harm people who believed in Jesus. However, one day, Jesus spoke to him, asking him to change and share his words of love with others.
David then returned the 'BAD' hanky to the magic bag. Next, it was Ellie's turn. She reached into the bag and pulled out the same handkerchief, but now it read 'GOOD' with a happy face! Just like the magically transformed hanky, Paul also changed for the better, David explained.
David used this captivating moment to remind everyone that it's never too late for us to change our actions for the better. Even when we've been a bit 'naughty,' there's always a chance to turn things around and strive to be 'good.'
Moving on to the adults, David delved deeper into the fascinating journey of Paul. Paul wasn't an original disciple of Jesus; instead, he was known for his persecution of Christians. Yet, during a significant journey to Damascus, an encounter with Jesus profoundly changed Paul.
Born as Saul in the city of Tarsus, he belonged to a devout Jewish family. Saul was sent to Jerusalem for religious studies when he was still young. Over time, Saul became part of a group known as Pharisees, who were determined to enforce the old laws given by God. They took issue with those following Jesus's new teachings.
On his trip to Damascus, aiming to continue his persecution of Christians, Saul had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. This meeting left him temporarily blind, but a man named Ananias healed him and revealed his divine mission. From that moment, Saul became Paul and dedicated his life to spreading Jesus's teachings.
Paul travelled extensively around the Mediterranean over the years, teaching people about Jesus, establishing new churches, encouraging others to embrace Christianity, and writing substantial parts of the New Testament.
Paul's journey was filled with challenges and trials. He faced numerous obstacles, imprisonments, and eventually, he paid the ultimate price for his faith - he was executed outside the city walls of Rome.
Paul's story reminds us of several critical truths. Firstly, no one is beyond the reach of God's saving grace. No matter what we've done in the past or how we've acted, God's loving forgiveness is open to all.
Secondly, we can't earn our way into heaven through our good deeds; it is through our faith in Jesus. Lastly, each of us has a unique mission to share God's love and message in our own distinctive ways.
Reflecting on the magical transformation of the hanky from 'BAD' to 'GOOD', akin to Paul's shift from being 'naughty' to becoming 'good', we see a reminder that change is always possible. Through faith and God's grace, we too can find our unique purpose and become bearers of God's love.