“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem!” But the Lord said to him, “Go!” –Acts 9:10-11
I love this church! Sunday’s sermon topic was about how Saul, who was doing everything he could to shut the Christian movement down, surprisingly became one, and not just a back pew sitter, either, but one of the boldest Christians in his era. The way Saul made such a change in his life, Scripture tells us, is not that he pulled himself up by his own spiritual bootstraps. He was helped by others around him, particularly Ananias. Now Ananias wasn’t keen on helping Saul; it certainly wasn’t his idea. “Don’t you know what a terrible guy this is?!?” Ananias protested to Jesus. But when the Lord sent Ananias to Saul’s side, well, he went. And the rest is history.
All that was good fodder for meditation last Sunday morning. Most went home, or to lunch, or to take communion to our elderly folk after that. But about a dozen leaders stayed for the monthly church board meeting following worship. At that board meeting, we did standard things you would expect. Then we heard a request from the Odessa Crisis Center to use our facilities on a weekly basis for their brand new Batterers’ Intervention Program. Offenders who have done harm to family members can be ordered by the courts or can voluntarily choose to undergo this program to alter their behavior and develop their emotional maturity. Would we allow these offenders and their counselors to use our facility?
We had some discussion about logistics, safety, and our general support of the Crisis Center. Then, and I love it when this happens, someone dared to point out the elephant in the room, saying, “These aren’t quilters we are inviting in here, let’s be clear.” And someone else answered, “I know, let’s not let any quilters in, that will be dangerous for sure.” We all laughed and sighed that sigh of relief when you’ve found your next step on the always unfolding adventure of following Jesus Christ. The vote to host the Batterers’ Intervention Program was a unanimous yes.
Even Saul, Lord?! Suddenly we weren’t just reading Scripture, we were living it. I love this church.