Tuesday, April 1, 2008

None are Unclean

From Acts 11 NRSV:

Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.

I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But I replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.”

But a second time the voice answered from heaven, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.”

And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’

Hinder not God, but treat all with fairness, favoring none, poor nor rich, weak nor strong, discerning not between the races, or the sexes, or by who was born of what parents. For all are called to be Children of God, and all are desired at the great feast.

Look at yourself, and see if you truly treat all alike, repent and turn to the way of God.


1 comment:

SB said...

Hi Ben -- It's interesting that you'd post about Acts. We've launched a series on that book at wa-cath. And we of the "Sunday 5" service are bringing our own hermeneutical lenses to the party. Our working subtitle for chapter 11 is "A New Kind of Clean".

BTW, we'll be in chapter 20 ("The Dangers of Preaching Too Long") on August 10th. I'd love for you and/or Jill to chime in with a poem or mini-homily if you're into it.