Movements shake things up! One moment, everything feels stable, secure, predictable. Then suddenly the ground shifts, the earth shakes, and what appeared steady and familiar before now feels…different. Movements shake things up. Movements change things.
Paul understood this all too well. He had heard about this new thing from Palestine, this Jesus Movement. He heard how Jesus challenged so many things that were sure and certain, spending more time empowering people than propping up institutions. When the keepers of the status quo arrested Jesus and threatened him with death, he simply stood before them, humble but unbowed. When they killed him, this Jesus just didn’t seem to stay dead! And his movement grew, even as Paul tried with all his might to bring it down.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to Damascus. Paul encountered the risen Jesus, and in that moment, the ground beneath him moved. Suddenly the one who had tried to destroy the Jesus Movement now with equal zeal propelled it forward. Indeed, it wasn’t long before Paul and his colleagues were described as those who, in the Name of Jesus, “turned the world upside down.”
Throughout his life, Paul remained committed, always calling his friends—and all of us—to join him in that movement where everything we say and everything we do proclaims the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ until he comes again.
“Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Prayer for the Mission of the Church, from Good Friday, The Book of Common Prayer 1979, The Episcopal Church