The One Man: Paul Among the Romans // Acts 22:25-23:11

My feeling about people in whose conversion I have been allowed to play a part is always mixed with awe and even fear: such as a boy might feel on first being allowed to fire a rifle. The disproportion between his puny finger on the trigger and the thunder and lightning which follow is alarming.
— C.S. Lewis

00The Apostle Paul was born Saul of Tarsus, a Roman citizen educated in the most prestigious of Jewish schools. In his early adult life, he was a man of fierce conviction, who thought nothing of destroying others for the sake of advancing his cause. But meeting Jesus broke him. Mighty Saul became suffering Paul. And in the latter half of his adult life, he poured out his days not to trample others but to build them up. Paul lost reputation, comfort, freedom, and finally his life for the sake of one aim: to live in Christ and invite others to do the same.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Joy to all creatures, honor, feasting, delight.
Dark death is destroyed and life is restored everywhere.

The gates of heaven are open.
God has shown himself man,
man has gone up to him a God

The gates of hell God has shattered,
the bars of Adam's prison broken.
From the earth comes singing and dancing

The light in the soul will never go out.
The fire of grace burns in us all.
Spirit, divine, in our bodies and our souls,
fed with the oil of Christ

 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

God, you are a generous Sovereign,
treating the last to come as you treat the first arrival.

You allow all your workers to rest --
those who began at the eleventh hour,
those who have worked from the first.

You are kind to the late-comer and see the needs of the early.
You give to one, and you give to the other.

Join, then, all of you; join in our Master's rejoicing!
You who were the first to come, and you who came after,
Come and collect now your wages.
Rich men and poor men, sing and dance together.
You that are hard on yourselves, and you that are easy, honor this day.
You that have fasted, and you that have not, make merry today.
The meal is ready; come and enjoy it.
The calf is fat; you will not go away hungry.
There's kindness for all to partake of and kindness to spare.

Away with the pleading of poverty.
The kingdom belongs to us all.

Away with the bewailing of failures.
Forgiveness has come from the grave.

Away with your fears of dying.
The death of our Savior has freed us from fear.

Death played the master, but He has mastered death.
The shadows seized a body and found it was God;
they reached for earth and what they held was heaven.
They took what they could see; it was what no one sees.
Where is death's sting? Where is the shadow's victory?

Christ is risen; the world below is in ruins.

Christ is risen; the spirits of evil are fallen.

Christ is risen; the angels of God are rejoicing.

Christ is risen; the tombs are void of their dead.

Christ has indeed arisen from the dead, the first of the sleepers.
Glory and power are his, forever and ever. Amen.