The Epistle and the Gospel are both deeply rich and spiritual readings. On this pluralism Sunday where we recognize the truth that God loves all of God's creation, I want to focus on Ananias. He was the early follower of the "Way", the early name for followers of Christ within Judaism who was led to approach Saul to heal him of his blindness. Saul, who became Paul after his Baptism had become blind on the road to Damascus when he had an encounter with God that changed him from a persecutor of the early church to become its greatest Evangelist. Our church today is a result of his work as he reached out to Pagans, who are our ancestors.
Ananias was called to meet with Saul, heal him and Baptize him. He had to overcome his own fear and go to this perceived enemy and lovingly heal, talk with and Baptize. This took courage and faith and he reached out beyond his tribal comfort zone went to see Saul. Can you imagine his thoughts as he approached Saul thinking I have to help this guy who murdered my friends!
Today, we have a bigger view of the world. We recognize the limits of the planet earth, more about the universe and the need to move away from narrow tribalism. We are one people created by one God living on one planet. Our challenge is to personally get over our historic prejudice and fear of strangers and work together for the good of all. I pray that we use the courage and example as well as the faith of Ananias to reach out and include all people who approach God in their own unique ways. As our former Bishop Michael Ingham reminds us Jesus' words, "in God's house their are many mansions". Lets work to stamp out and hate as well as predjude, suspicion and fear. Had this negative energy been present in the conversion of Paul, we would have never known about the love of God in Jesus.