painting of Ananias restoring the sight of Saul aka St Paul
Is this a picture of faith? Hope? Love?

Here are some questions related to Acts 9:10-19, the Uniform Series text for Sunday, August 20, that we might try to discuss in class:

The reading opens with the Lord appearing to Ananias in a vision, and announces that Saul has also seen a vision while praying. From what we know about Ananias and Saul, can we tell what prepares them to have visions? What seems to have been the purpose of the visions? How would you, yourself, respond to an experience like this? Why?

In Ananias’ vision, the Lord commands him to seek Saul out and help him regain his sight. Ananias has every reason to think this is a dangerous mission, and raises this question. What does this tell us about Ananias, and about Ananias’ relationship with the Lord? What human relationship(s) you know might include a similar exchange? Which ones wouldn’t, or would end differently? Does the human comparison shed any light on the exchange between Ananias and the Lord? What is it?

The Lord tells Ananias that Saul has seen a man by his name in a prayer vision, and later says Saul is the Lord’s chosen instrument for further work. How much choice do Ananias and Saul seem to have in this story? How much choice would you want to have if you were in their position? Would “choice” be the same thing as “freedom” here? Why or why not? How do those two things differ? Are freedom and obedience conflicting goods, or do they ever complement one another? How?

The story relates the Lord’s call to Ananias, Ananias’ response, service, and its immediate outcome. Is Ananias a role model for Saul? For contemporary Christians? In what way(s)? What general advice does Ananias’ story seem to give us? Can we identify Ananias as someone who “pleases God”? If so, what is it about Ananias in this story that we interpret as “pleasing”? Are we naming some things as displeasing? What? Why? Does our reading tell us more about God, about Ananias, or about ourselves?

How is faith involved in this story? Would you describe Ananias’ behavior as an “act of faith”? Why? What about Saul’s? Why? What about the Lord’s? Why? How is hope involved in this story? Would you describe Ananias’ behavior as hopeful? What about Saul’s? Why? What about the Lord’s? Why? How is love involved in this story? Love for or of whom, or what?