Last Sunday we kept the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Here is the sermon from Mother Anne-Marie.
My very first car was a second hand Morris 1100 – solid, reliable and British. I had it for two years. Then I moved to London as a newly qualified social worker and realised I could get a loan for a brand new car. The job involved a lot of driving with visits to foster homes on the Kent Coast, therapeutic communities in the south west, and children’s homes in the Welsh mountains. I wanted something a bit more “trendy” than my Morris. Other social workers at the time drove Volkswagen Beatles or bone rattling Citroens. I wanted a bit more comfort that the Citroen deux chevaux, but I knew I wanted something foreign. I went for a Renault 5 – bright yellow it was – and so began my love affair with Renaults. Continue reading
This Sunday I decided to major on the first reading from Acts – the conversion of Saint Paul – rather than the gospel reading. Here’s what I said.
Where would we be if Jesus had decided to do background checks, or even criminal record checks, on those he wanted to be his apostles? Would he have appointed them? Or would he have decided that they weren’t suitable candidates for the job?
After the resurrection the eleven – the original twelve minus Judas Iscariot – had been keeping their heads down because they were fearful of the Jewish authorities. Whether they had actually done anything that the authorities deemed to be criminally wrong we shall never know because Acts doesn’t tell us, but they may well have had their names on an official blacklist. Paul, of course, is a different matter. Paul – or Saul as he was originally known – was, to be blunt, not a particularly nice person when we first come across him. He is a religious zealot, hounding followers of Jesus and putting them to death simply because he didn’t agree with their religious beliefs. He wants every follower of Jesus off the streets. Continue reading