Wanderings for May 17, 2009
Acts 10:44 to 11:18
Greetings everyone and Happy Friday.
I feel odd using the phrase "Happy" because I am sure that by now you all have heard the news that we voted at our Annual Meeting to close the church on July 26. That brings a series of emotions that include grief, wonder and worry.
I don't know if it is bittersweet or ironic or encouraging that during this time our lectionary readings come from the book of Acts, which details the beginnings of the church and the movement of the Holy Spirit. This Sunday we’ll hear from Acts 10:44 to 11:18. To truly understand the reading, you need to go back to the beginning of ch. 10.
Here you will find how the author of Acts takes his sweet time telling, and then retelling us the story of Peter and Cornelius and the dream in which God makes all food clean and Peter is shown/told that no one is to be called profane/unclean or to make a distinction between people. This is important stuff, so important the author tells it to us twice, although in different ways.
When the early church was beginning, they could have so easily stuck to the old ways, to the old laws, they could have so easily said they were set apart and above everyone. But instead, due to the teachings of Jesus, the movement of the Spirit and the work of people like Peter, Philip and Paul, it was understood that God's Good News was to be available to all. And in order for that to happen, changes had to be made in how people ate.
Some of the Jewish food laws prohibited people from eating pork, enjoying shell fish or mixing meat and dairy. That would have meant you could not enjoy a good barbeque, you could not eat at Long John Silver's or enjoy a whopper at Burger King. The limit of food would have also meant a limit of interaction with folk. A limit of interaction with folk would have meant a limit of how far the Good News could be spread.
Thank God for Peter's vision, thank God for the new direction, because it has not only allowed the Word to be better heard, but has opened up doors for new relationships and the joys of giving and receiving hospitality.
And, if I know me, and I know you, our ability to share meal, our ability to entertain one another, is just one way God is going to see us through and we will be able to face the next 10 weeks.
May the grace of Jesus be with us all,
* if you want to be e-mailed the weekly Wanderings , contact Pastor George at firstname.lastname@example.org