“And though his eyes were open, he could see nothing” (Acts 9:8)
Event Date: January 30-31, 2017
For those of us facing forceful disruptions to the stories of our lives, this is a palpably familiar experience. With eyes we know are open, we look out at our families, our work or our churches, at our communities or our nation—sometimes at our very selves—with a confused and uncomprehending gaze. Known features become oddly unrecognizable and we simply cannot see how the stories will continue to unfold.
This was true for the apostle Paul on the Damascus Road, whose story brilliantly illuminates our own spiritual narratives. Tradition celebrates Paul’s story as one of conversion, clarity, and conviction, but that is really to read only the story’s epilogue. Its middle chapters are more complex—and much closer to our own personal and communal stories than we might imagine: radical ruptures with the past; disorientation, loss, and grief; an urgent need to make sense of things that no longer make sense; the struggle to find words with which to speak newly comprehended truths.
At 2017’s convocation, you were:
invited to find yourself in the complexities of Paul’s story.
equipped to respond to radical disruptions and to accompany others in times of disorientation and loss.
guided in reinterpreting the sacred text of your life and expressing the truths discovered in the midst of change.
encouraged to discern your own course corrections when the way ahead is not clear.
challenged to look bravely, with others, into the blinding light of transformational change.