Scripture Reading — Acts 9:1-19
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 —
Jennifer was born in California, growing up in Marin County during the 1970s. Her family not only lived in the "flower child movement" in California; they helped create it as writers, teachers, and artists. Though her grandparents were Presbyterian missionaries--and maybe because they were--Jennifer's dad despised Christianity. She writes, "No one in our family believed in God--it was like we'd all signed some sort of loyalty oath early on, agreeing not to believe in God in deference to the pain of my father's cold Christian childhood." Instead, she was raised to believe in books, music, and nature. When family friends came over, they sang old English ballads, smoked and drank a lot, overdosed on drugs, and flirted with people who were married to someone else.
At 12 years of age Jennifer was drinking regularly. In high school she got drunk whenever she wanted. When her favorite high school teacher became a born-again Christian, she responded by studying great atheists and memorizing passages to prove the teacher wrong. She was prone to alcoholic binges and suicidal thoughts.
Our Bible reading for today shows us Saul's impossible transformation, and that gives us hope that anyone can become a Christian, no matter what they've done.
This is good news: God can save anyone!
Almighty God, take your great grace and bring it into our lives. Please change the people we know who are far from you, by the great power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.