Drama for Jesus

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The Conversion on the Road to Damascus by Caravaggio (1601)
The Conversion on the Road to Damascus by Caravaggio (1601)

Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:1-6)

“Oh you know, Sarah, she’s such a drama queen.”

We all know people we’d characterize as “drama queens.” People who can never seem to do anything without a major fuss or production; people who always seem to make much ado about nothing. The drama might be over a perceived social slight or a poor haircut. The presenting issue doesn’t really matter — drama follows some people like dirt trails after Pig Pen.

We could use pop-psychology to analyze such a person until the Second Coming — she has a desperate need for attention, her mother stopped breast feeding too early, her husband never empties the dishwasher — but it wouldn’t change things. Some people simply have a flair for the dramatic; and not in a good way.

But sometimes drama is warranted. Take Paul’s encounter on the Road to Damascus, the blinding light, the voice from heaven, the scales on his eyes. That’s some serious drama! The difference is Saul, as he was then known, wasn’t seeking out drama or trying to create it. It was just another day at the office for him; he’d punched the clock and was just trying to persecute a few Christians before quitting time. Yet on the journey to Damascus, the drama found him.

Isn’t that the way it goes with Jesus? Just when we’re not looking for him, he finds us. It might not involve a flash of blinding light or a lighting bolt, but I’d argue that even the quietest encounter with God is dramatic. A gentle tug at the heart, a warm breeze, a fleeting memory of a deceased loved one, an infant’s tiny hand wrapped around your pinky.

All of these are dramatic encounters with our risen Lord; briefly blending heaven and earth and offering us glimpses of resurrection glory.

Think about your own encounters with Jesus over the years. Are there any you would characterize as “dramatic?” What was your response? How has it impacted your faith?

-Tim Schenck

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