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31 May: Acts 9.1-19 Saul on Damascus Road
Welcome to ‘Beyond the Empty Tomb’ Weekly podcasts providing a led meditation on the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus.
Today’s Resurrection appearance is from acts 9.1-19: Jesus appears to Saul on the Damascus Road. The symbol I suggest you use with this meditation a blindfold or something you can use as a blindfold.
If you don’t have it with you, I suggest you pause now to get it.
Take time now to settle into this space – to be comfortable in your chair, to let your body relax into the support it is giving you.
Let your mind let go of what you have come from, and to be simply attentive to being in this moment.
Notice your heart beat, its simple rhythm… the pulse of life
As you are with your life pulse, let your hopes for this time surface.
Name them, and look beneath them to the desire for God that God has given you.
Hold as precious your God given desire for God that has brought you here –
and of the welcome of God greeting you…
notice God’s gaze on you
let God’s peace come to your innermost being…
and let if flow through you with your pulse
from your heart, to the extremities of your body, helping you relax and gain a sense of ease
through your arms and legs to your fingertips and toes
up your neck into your head and to the very top of your crown
Let God’s peace enfold you…
Acts 9.1-19 Saul encounters Jesus
I invite you, in your mind’s eye, to join Saul’s group on the road to Damascus.
Spend some time letting the scene emerge, notice the landscape, the road, other travellers
Notice the weather, the temperature, breeze,
Listen to the sounds – steps on the road, animals, birds
Notice Saul – look at him – intent on his journey…
Invite him to tell you about his purpose – notice how you feel as you hear him.
Then a dazzling brightness envelopes you both – and Saul and you end up on the ground blinded
Hear a voice – ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
Saul’s response ‘Who are you, Lord?’
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, but up you get, and go into the city, and it will be told you what you must do.’
Put on your blindfold – and notice your inability to see
Let yourself be helped with Saul – be led to Damascus.
Be with Saul, unable to see… / needing to be looked after / helped to eat, drink, find your way around…
You and Saul find yourselves together in this room, disorientated, dependent
Have a conversation about what has happened, how it is
A visitor comes to the house – looking for Saul. Listen as he enters and approaches.
Speaking to Saul: ‘Brother Saul, the Lord has sent me, Jesus, who appeared to you on the way by which you came, so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’
Remove your blindfold and adjust to seeing where you are – and Ananias laying hands on Saul – be with Saul as he regains his vision – notice his face – notice the effect of the Holy Spirit on his demeanour
How he begins to see
Listen to the conversation that leads to his baptism
Watch as he is baptised – do you join him?
Talk to Saul about the experience
Then come back to the present – hold your blindfold as you reflect on your time with Saul
Reflect: what was most uplifting, energising
What was most disturbing uncomfortable, what do you need to find peace about it?
Bring yourself into conversation with Jesus – telling him about these aspects of your experience
Offer you thanks, ask for your needs
Glory be to the Father…
This brings the series ‘Beyond the Empty Tomb’ to an end. I do hope that it has been helpful in your relationship with the risen Jesus. Do visit my website soulspark.online to give feedback and to sign up for my monthly newsletter.
God bless you as you journey on…
Including this episode as one of the ‘resurrection appearances’ might be a surprise to some, after all its not in a gospel. But Acts is really the second part of Luke’s gospel, and was not this an encounter with the risen Christ?
However, there is something different about this, in that it is an appearance of the risen Jesus to someone who didn’t know, meet or encounter in any direct way Jesus in his earthly life. Creating an imaginative meditation however involves much the same sort of approach, but affords opportunities for close engaging with Saul, the man, and the drama of Jesus meeting him. The use of the blindfold to help engage more deeply with the experience took me into my own participation in exercises to help understand the experience of people who have lost one or other of the primary senses. Being blindfolded and having to try and negotiate a furnished room was a far more powerful way of ‘understanding’ the challenge of living without the ability to see.