Grace: a LONG obedience...

So here's a thought I will "walk with" for the next few days and see if it comes together for Sunday: there is a connection between the "evolution" of St. Paul and the woman at the well - and it has something to do with God's grace NEVER giving up on us.

+ Paul is struck blind by God's love in Christ:  first he feared it, then he was overcome by it; at his weakest he was nourished back to health by Ananias of Damascus who was a servant of grace and later still Paul bet his life on sharing the grace of God in Jesus with the world.  Somewhere, however, he spent time thinking and praying and practicing making this grace an integral part of his world.  From the opening words of Galatians, it seems that Paul spent three years wandering the desert (what he calls Arabia but what others have posited was his trip to Mt. Sinai.) And then there is a 14 year gap in Paul's story - the so-called "missing years" - of which there is no record.

+ My hunch, and it is only that, is that Paul gave himself to prayer, study, silence and discipleship. He needed to learn - experience - and wrestle with this new way of living.  As Bono says, "Grace trumps karma every time" but this is so upside-down and counter-cultural it takes a LONG time to embrace.

+ The gospel story for Sunday has to do with the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus blesses.  What I sense is that she, like Paul, needed to meet and experience someone (in both cases Jesus) who gave shape and form to God's grace before she knew what to do with it.  Jesus asks her simply to go and sin no more - and she responds by telling others how Jesus brought her new hope.  In this, she is just like Paul - or just like me - because her story is part of my on-going conversion.

I don't know if this has legs, I think so, but I need to "walk around with it for a time" like Fr. Raymond Brown used to suggest.  We're off to a wedding tomorrow and a little down/away time.  More on the flip side...


Steve Finnell said…

What does the washing of water found in Ephesians 5:26 mean? Should you, as a believer in Christ, look to creed books and Bible commentaries for the answer to that question or should you look to translations of the Bible for truth? Do you want to trust men or do you want to trust God's written word?

Ephesians 5:25-26...just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (NKJV)

How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church? The church is the body of Christ. The church is comprised of Christians. How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church?

Ephesians 5:26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word;(The Living Bible- Paraphrased)

Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, (KJV)

Ephesians 5:26 in order to make her holy, cleaning her with the baptismal water by the Word. (Weymouth New testament)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. (Common English Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water.(Contemporary English Version)

Ephesians 5:26 In order that he might sanctify it, purifying [it] by the washing of water by [the] word, (Darby Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. (ERV-Easy-to-Read-Version)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleaning it, washing it using water along with the spoken words. (God's Word Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, (Good News Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water alone with the spoken words. (Names of God Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (New American Standard Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He did that so that he might make the church people holy, when they were washed with water by God's word. (World English N.T.)

Do you really want leave the interpretation of Ephesians 5:26 to others,why would you not read it and believe what it says?

Is God smart enough to guide men to accurately translate the Bible?

Two choices: 1. Trust God's written word, the BIBLE. or 2. Trust preachers, priests, pastors, Bible commentators, the man on the street, your friends and relatives or creed books, for the truth and nothing but the truth.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved....(NKJV)


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