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During last Sunday’s service, the pastor discussed Peter’s vision of a sheet descending from heaven (Acts 10: 9 – 16).

About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.  He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance.  He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners.  In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air.  Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.”  But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.”  The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.”

As explained by Pastor Sean, this passage is so much more than permission to lift Jewish dietary restrictions.  It is a call to change. Not only did Peter change what he ate, he took the Word to the Gentiles, a people previously unreached by God.

This vision was an instruction to take the church and make it something new.

For Peter, that meant moving among the Gentiles.  Since most of us are Gentiles, it has to mean something different today. Personally, I think it is a call to change how we move throughout the world.  Previously, Christianity was a tool of conquest.  Come, believe, and we will shape you after our image.

Instead, we need to get to know people.  See them.  Listen to them.  Ask questions.  It isn’t like I’m inventing this.  It is taken from Christ’s own experience.

As he walked the roads.

As he sat in the gardens.

As he ate among the people.

He saw them, heard them, and healed them.

–SueBE

 

Last weekend, our pastor preached on part of the book of Acts, specifically Chapter 10 and Peter’s vision.  Peter saw a large sheet holding all types of animals being lowered to Earth.  When he was instructed to kill and eat, he objected because many of the animals were unclean.  Peter was told not to consider anything unclean that God had made.

Then our pastor asked us, what would be on that cloth today?  What, or who, do we consider unclean or unacceptable?

For some, it is people of other faiths.  After all, if the way to heaven is through Christ, non-Christians are obviously unclean.  Right?  But wait.  They are part of God’s creation.  In Acts, we have God’s word that they are not unclean.

What about people who voted for him?  Or her?  As much as we don’t want to admit it when we are in the midst of a political argument, they too are clean.

Your annoying neighbor whose kid makes the whole neighborhood stink of pot?  In spite of the stench, clean.

All are part of God’s creation.  Yes, him too.  And her.  And when we start to see the people who anger us as part of that creation, we look at them with a bit more sympathy and perhaps even a bit of empathy.

After all, it all depends on what you look for.

–SueBE

 

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