Damascus Road - All-age Talk
Preacher: The Revd Rob Ryan, Cathedral Curate (2010-2012)
25 January 2009, 10:30 (Conversion of Paul)
I spy with my little eye ...
number plates for people in the cathedral
scissors paper rock
- animal starting with A, B, C ...
The curate has not gone mad ... or maybe he has!!! What do you think connects all these games?
Today we are remembering Paul’s journey and conversion on the road to Damascus ... an area that is in the news a lot at this time, and an area where the people, both Israeli and Palestinian, need our prayer.
Paul’s journey that took him along this road was a journey that ended in his baptism and a new way of life. So today is more than appropriate for celebrating the baptism of Charlotte and Alexander - as they start their journey with Jesus. For although Paul traveled to Damascus with a plan thinking this was going to be the end of a journey, it was instead the start of a journey that he could never have anticipated. There was a surprise on the way!
I used to love journeys with our children. The playing of games, the laughter ... well actually, no I didn’t ... the arguing ... the moaning .... that question that comes as soon as you close the front door .... ‘are we there yet?!’
When our children got too big to squeeze in the back of our saloon car without ripping pieces out of each other we made the middle age plunge and bought a people carrier. I remember crying as we signed the direct debit form ... longing for the day when we could yet again join the land of the living and drive a real car, rather than a minibus with comfortable seats.
But there was one freebie that our new car had which we were not aware of until we took delivery. A DVD player with screen which flips down from the roof of the car. I tell you ... journey’s to Dorset, Devon, Cornwall ... silence in the back. Children plugged into sound and all the parents could hear were giggles or gasps at appropriate moments during the film they happened to be watching. No more biting, hitting, crying moaning .... and no more ‘are we there yet!’ Bliss!
But ... now, on any journey, my children notice nothing. They get in the car outside our house, they watch a film, and they arrive at a campsite. They miss the changing weather, the changing landscape. They miss what the journey itself has to offer. There were no surprises on the way.
I don’t think paul had a DVD player for his journey to Damascus.
I wonder, though, if they played I Spy?
It’s 150 miles on horseback ... they must have done something! Whatever they did ... there was certainly a surprise waiting for them.
I’d like us to notice one thing from this incident in the bible; and that is ... It is not in the destination that Saul meets God.
Saul meets God on the road, on the very journey itself.
In an age when we are focused on arriving as quickly as possible, or in getting the task done as rapidly as we can ... it is interesting to note that, in this case, it is in the actual doing itself, while still on the road that God meets Saul.
God does not sit and wait for Saul in the city, he breaks in on the journey. It’s unexpected, it’s not planned for, it’s quite a surprise.
God is in both ... but its on the journey that he chooses to act. So ... a question I ask myself ...
where do I expect to meet God?
and how many times have I missed him on the road? And the parents of Alex and Charlotte ... prepare to be surprised, and as these children start their Christian journeys, don’t let them forget to look out for God on their travels
... and for them, as for all of us ... may the question on the journey not be ‘are we there yet’ but
‘can I see God here yet?