Weakness and divine power


Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. This feast speaks to the depth of God’s power and the breadth of God’s mercy. St Paul was once named Saul–that Saul persecuted early Christians, whom Saul understood to be unfaithful and even idolatrous. When we think about persecution, we might think about its verbal forms, or exclusionary practices that keep certain groups of people marginalized. But Saul is among the people who stone the first Christian martyr, St Stephen. He participates in killing people. This is part of what is meant by Paul as a former persecutor of Christians.

St Paul is whom God chooses. St Paul is not only forgiven, but given what he describes as “power perfected in weakness.” By this he means that God’s power works through him, despite his considerable weakness. God’s power converts and transforms him. God’s power continues to work through him despite his remaining weaknesses, which he has because he’s human.

The same is true in the world today. We can also take this feast day to remember not only St Paul, but also that God is also using both ourselves and others for his purposes. God continues to reshape ourselves, to transform others, and to renew the ways in which God’s glory of love can shine through. Do we treat others and ourselves as those through whom God’s power is made perfect in weakness?