Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 21; Year 2
“Fellow-Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” (Acts 21:28)
The Jewish people from Asia stirred up the people by exaggerating stories about Paul. They assumed he brought a Greek man into the Temple which in their view would defile the Temple. The truth is that Paul was only seen with a Greek man, (only 1), and there is no evidence that he brought him into the Temple. But what if he did?
I am glad to belong to a community of believers who try to make all welcome. Someone hearing the people from Asia complain should have said, “So what?” I know that we still fall short of radical hospitality today in our Church. We are a work in progress. This earth is holy. Therefore everything on this round, blue altar, is holy. This includes each and every one of us.
During this COVID 19 isolation period is a good time to reevaluate our relationship with our buildings. I like the stained glass windows, the Altar as the central focus, candles, Books of Common Prayer, and flowers in season. But none of this is too good for the stranger to also come in and enjoy. God made every man, woman and child you will ever meet. That makes them as Holy as everybody else. They may not always act like it, but they are. Don’t let them acting like they are not holy, make you act like you are not holy either. Respect the dignity of every human being. When we go back in, let us bring the stranger with us.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John