Metanoia is an ancient Greek word meaning “changing one’s mind”. It seems to me that the minds that can conceive of killing people brutally and mindlessly, need changing. Yesterday’s Bible study on the Book of Acts brought to light the story of Saul, the persecutor of Christians, who was depicted as a terrorist of the times. On his way to Damascus to round up even more Christians and throw them into jail, he was confronted by Jesus Himself, and underwent a thorough transformation. It reminded me of a poem I wrote in 2009 about that very story, and I share it with you now.
METANOIA FOR THE MODERN WORLD
On that long road to Damascus
The Lord stopped Saul in his tracks
“Why, Saul, do you persecute me?”
The voice from heaven asked.
“Who are you, Lord?”
The stricken man cried
As he rubbed his sightless eyes.
“I am Jesus whom you persecute!”
The voice from heaven replied.
For three days Saul was blinded,
He neither ate nor drank a drop
Until he was convicted
To change the way he thought.
When he saw himself as Jesus did
His eyesight was regained
And Saul the persecutor
Became known as Paul the saint.
We need that kind of metanoia
In our modern world today,
Let people think before they act
In such destructive ways.
Away with guns and knives and threats
And bombs and words of war!
Hear God’s voice from heaven say,
“These things I do abhor!”
And if we listen carefully,
If we try to be humane,
Then surely metanoia
Will touch our world again.
Our road to Damascus is just as real today
As it was in Paul’s time
May we meet Jesus on the way.