January 9

Acts 10:34-38

“Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” vss. 34-35

In Peter’s world it had been unlawful for a Jew to associate with Gentiles, and he had scrupulously avoided them for all of his life. And then everything changed! First there had been a vision of unclean foods, and then a voice, “Get up, Peter, and eat!” As he wondered about the vision, an invitation came from Cornelius, a Roman centurion, and propelled by the Spirit, Peter soon found himself in a crowd of Gentiles, preaching the good news of Jesus. New insights flooded over him and he struggled to make sense of what was happening. It wasn’t easy for those Jewish disciples to cross long-standing boundaries and embrace Gentiles as brothers and sisters in Christ, but eventually they got it done. We continue to find it difficult to break down walls and accept the “other” as part of the family. Some of us have seen the struggle first-hand in our congregations as we’ve been asked to put aside long-held prejudices and welcome gay persons, honor their marriages, and accept them as our pastors. Some haven’t been able to do it! They’ve chosen to stand with tradition and practice exclusion–it’s their way of keeping faith and aligns with their understanding of scripture. But others, following Peter’s witness, have opened their arms to those who had long been rejected–and blessings have multiplied.

Thought for the Day: How do I feel about full inclusion of gays in our congregations?

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