[ACNS, by Peter Chipanga] The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in Blantyre, part of the Central African Diocese of Southern Malawi has advised Christians to emulate the life of Paul if they want to get an everlasting life and enjoy the fruits of being holy before the Lord. In the Anglican Church of Central Africa, St Paul is commemorated on 25 January. In a homily for St Paul’s Day, the Very Revd Canon Auster Kalilombe said true Christians need not worry about instant rewards because the real reward is received after human life.
“The reward for living a Christian life is not instantaneous as is the case with the ordinary life whereby you get right away or change jobs because you want better package for the work you do,” he said. “Christian life is deemed tough just because the expected reward is to be received after the physical death, but it is good that the Gospel is so clear that when we do well, we shall be with Lord Jesus in God’s Kingdom and enjoy eternal life.”
The Dean asked the nation to have a turning point and live glorious life with God, just as Saul, which is Paul’s given name, did. Saul, a tent maker by profession, was born into a Jewish family in Tarsus (Turkey) though he was also a Roman citizen. He was well known for his hatred of Christians as he believed Jesus teachings violated Mosaic law and he zealously harassed and even jailed anyone who followed those teachings.
“Saul was once an aggressive persecutor of Christians, and had sought and received permission from the high priest to proceed to Damascus for the purpose of imprisoning more followers of Christ.
“He had a turning point and in the manner of the first Apostles who, when beckoned by Christ gave up their lifestyles to follow him, Saul too did not hesitate, and that was the beginning of the long but successful journey that saw him preach from one end to another, the life we need to emulate,” he said.
The feast of the Conversion of St Paul, deemed as a miraculous event, has been part of the Anglican Church calendar for more than 1,500 years, and in an interview after the Eucharist, Canon Kalilombe said the conversion is important as he was among the greatest of the missionaries spreading the Word; in addition to being an example that anyone, even the most hardened unbeliever, can be created anew.
“We cannot ignore celebrating this feast which is always on a day the Apostle [Paul] was killed,” he said. “Otherwise we cherish that God caused the light of the Gospel to shine through the world with the preaching and teaching of His servant Paul.
Canon Kalilombe asked God to grant those who celebrated Saul’s wonderful conversion to follow him in bearing witness to the truth of the Lord. “May the Lord bless us all as we emulate the life of Saint Paul after his conversion through Jesus Christ who is alive and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit as one God, now and forever, Amen,” he prayed.
Paul was killed by Emperor Nero in AD 67 as part of Christian persecution; but not before he wrote up to 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. Half of the Acts of the Apostles deals with Paul’s life and works.