Acts 9:17 – So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." (RSV)
Imagine receiving a letter from some person for the first time and in the salutation is the phrase "Brother/Sister". I once addressed someone in a similar way (and I am glad to report that we came to be great friends later) and in his reply, he expressed his gratitude that we both belonged to a family, even though we had not met before in the physical life.
There exists a uniting cord between the members of God's family in which personality, status, abilities, location and origin appear as unimportant factors which can set not a single pause to the relationship, its promotion and expression. Fellow Christians easily link up even on the very first interaction, because of the great feature we share — love for fellow brethren. What a privilege to belong to such a family!
In today's reading, Ananias addressed Saul — who had set out for Damascus on a legalized mission of persecuting Christians — as a brother. No sooner had Paul been converted to Christianity (by Jesus' voice, preceded by a great light that shone so brightly around Saul) that he switched from being Ananias' enemy to a brother. O how sweet it is, belonging to such a community, flowing with love, even for enemies!
Yes, we all belong to God's family with a principal uniting cord — love for fellow brothers and sisters. Before us is the challenge of how we express, exercise and promote this uniting cord. Let's pray that we acquire and share this love, since "He who does not love does not know God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8 RSV)
Prayer: Father in heaven, grant us love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.