Thursday, December 5, 2019

Who are we to stand in God's way? - Acts 10 & 11

It's found in the Hutu and Tutsi peoples of Rwanda divided over the shape of their noses, the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam in India with their varying religious heritage and the light vs dark skinned people of the island nation of Haiti. Whether, rich or poor, educated or uneducated and despite your political parties or religious views no-one is exempt from the dire impact of prejudice. As I consider the existence, both historically and presently, of racism and discrimination in every region of the world, I'm drawn back to the reality that Christianity itself was once thought to be for only one people. I love this passage that describes the passionate Simon Peter caught completely unaware as God made forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ available for Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike. In Chapter 10, the usually over-zealous Peter took great caution in responding to God's prompt to take the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection to the home of a prominent Gentile. And although the message could certainly have fallen on deaf ears in this context, here comes the Holy Spirit and the whole lot believes, are saved and even baptized on the scene. It's comical that this came as such a surprise to Peter, who had had the exact same thing happen on multiple occasions with predominately Jewish gatherings, where thousands upon thousands had believed and repented on the spot. It's even more fun, in chapter 11, watching the dumbfounded Peter reporting back to the church in defense of this unbefitting social encounter and presenting the new realization that Jesus' sacrifice is THE sacrifice for the sins of the WHOLE world. A refreshing reality in this world full of bigotry and hate. We must do our part to see every person as one of the very individuals that Jesus gave His life for because they are! And we must affirm with our thoughts, words and actions that every person, with their vast array of distinct differences, are created in the image of God because they are! After all, God has a unique plan for each of us and, like Peter, "Who are we to stand in God's way?"

The Royal Treatment - John 13

One of our family scripture readings during Advent is John 13. It's fun to talk with my kids about all that we can learn from Jesus'...