Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 9: Year 1:
“Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believerscriticized him, saying, ‘Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” (Acts 11:1 to 3).
You readers of this passage perhaps do not need a translation of this passage. But indulge me if you will. Here I go: “Now the apostles and the disciples who were in Judea, but down the hill from Jerusalem, heard that the non-Jew Greeks have also believed and accepted the word of God in Christ Jesus. Peter (also a Jew), climbed the mountain to Jerusalem and found himself in the presence of Jews who heard about him and who believed in God but perhaps not in Jesus. They believed in God, whom they also believed brought all life into being and who made all human kind in the image of God, yet they found fault in Peter for trying to reconcile the stranger to the belief in God.
Peter will go on to share his story about inclusivity in his food example wherein nothing that God has made is profane, including the uncircumcised, or Greek non-Jews.
Maybe it would be a good idea to review our Church stance on this matter. In our Book of Common Prayer, on page 855 of the Catechism, we are asked the question; “What is the mission of the Church?” The answer: “The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”
Any time we frame a question wherein it is an “us – them” scenario we have missed the holy mark. In God’s eyes we are all the same. However, some of us have been set apart to example the humble life. Some of us have been called and set aside to serve others regardless of what they believe or don’t believe. Some of us have been called and set apart to make charitable contributions that will assist those in need regardless of who the needy are. Those of us who are called in this way and set aside are called Christians. Christianity is not for the faint of heart. It is a high calling for a low walk. We are called to love the unlovable. We are called to pray for those who curse us; we are called to withstand some abuse and continue to march as Christian soldiers. We are fortified with the Love of God for the desire of God that all humanity will be reconciled back to God. We do this work with love. And if this is God’s desire, as Peter says, who are we to hinder God?
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John