The story of the encounter of Saul of Tarsus with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus is read in a number of differing ways, readings often shaped by what the church has become for us. At our juncture in the developing history of ‘The Way’ we have the opportunity to explore a different vantage point on this story, one shorn of much of the triumphalism of past readings and tempered by our uncertain times.
John’s account of Jesus’ commissioning of his disciples differs from that of the Synoptics in illuminating ways. Through an understanding of the relationship between Jesus’ own commission and that of his disciples, we can gain a richer appreciation of the primary character of our political task.
There is a famous anecdote in which a man, after death, wakes up surrounded by all the pleasures of life: food, sex, and leisure. An angel approaches him and says “Welcome, enjoy all the pleasures you have ever wanted.” The man basks in all the pleasures available, but after a few weeks of uninterrupted ecstasy, he grows bored. So, the man approaches the angel and says “Is there anything I can do, any work?”