Original Post: Ides of March 2010
Updated: 17 April 2010
In recent weeks Fr. John has been calling me "The Singer of Israel", because I love to sing the Epistles during the Liturgy prior to the Eucharist. When he first started calling me that as I received the Eucharist, I felt a thrill of recognition and confirmation.
Before first singing those Epistles, which tradition says were written by the Apostle Paul, I used to be a severe critic of Paul, who had been known as Saul of Tarsus. I still have intellectual questions about his letters and experiences, BUT when I sing those Epistles during the Liturgy something remarkable happens. It feels as if--I know this sounds strange--it feels as if Paul's spirit is singing through me!
As I reflected more on my critical questions in light of my current reading of Garry Wills' enlightening book What Paul Meant, it occurred to me that my attitude had been heavily influenced by Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. Joseph felt in competition with both Paul and Mohammed. Wills' insights are helping me transform my attitudes towards Paul, but I don't know what will happen to my delight in singing his Orthodox-chosen Epistles..