I am directionally challenged. I get lost easily and even have trouble in knowing which way to turn when I get off elevators. I am very grateful for the new technology that gives us mapping programs. My phone uses these and even talks to me to give me the directions I need to get where I’m going, either by car or by foot. If I make a wrong turn, it recalculates the route and will redirect me. However, we can get off the route in ways that are not just traveling on roads but in the purpose of our lives.
John 10:1-18, Acts 9:36-43
Saul on the road to Damascus and Peter at the lakeside both saw the risen Lord and were redirected. Both were good Jewish men, trying their best to live their lives, but they had gotten a bit lost and off track. Saul was righteously killing people, in the name of God, of course, binding and killing those who followed ‘The Way.’. Peter was living in fear and guilt with the horrible knowledge that he denied three times knowing Jesus, whom he loved and admired more than anyone else in the world.
My phone talks to me and tells me when to turn so that I can get where I’m going. However, thankfully, it has never blinded me when I was going the wrong way. Nor has it ever fed me breakfast and welcomed me back to the right path. However, Jesus did both these things in our two passages today helping Saul and Peter to reorient their lives to the right path. He redirected them onto better paths.
Just as the mapping programs have to redirect us when we are going the wrong way, God recalculates and redirects our lives, as well. But, just as we have to hear and follow the guidance of that mapping program, we also have to hear and follow God’s guidance. And how do we do that? How do we realize when we are doing the wrong thing, something that hurts rather than brings life to the community around us?
We continue to pray and meditate on scriptures and measure our lives against the teachings of Jesus to love God, love others, and serve the world.
People who breath murder and curses toward other countries or religions such as Muslims or homosexuals or other political parties are acting like Saul. The Baptist Church that protests and preaches hate – is following Saul’s example. Most of us do not do that — I hope none of us do, although there are lots of talk show hosts who broadcast such hatred. I turn them off. And, now when I do, I’ll think of the Holy Spirit saying, “Redirecting.”
Peter, on the other hand, is more understandable to many of us. For, while we would not want to murder another person, we can understand the fear of being killed by angry mobs. We can understand the regret for things we have done and regret for brave and good things that we have not done.
I saw an amazing historical picture of a brave man. It was a photo of a crowd of Germans in WWII standing and holding their right hands high in a Nazi salute. Within that huge crowd, one man stood with his arms crossed on his chest. “Redirecting.”
Love God. Love others. Serve the world.
Examine yourself against these three statements. Where could you do better? How could you love God and people better? How could you make the world a better place? How can we, individually, and together make this world a better place, this community a better place?
If we have strayed, either in hate or fear or guilt, perhaps as we pray, we can hear the Spirit saying, “Redirecting, redirecting.”