Friday, February 20, 2015

What I'm Doing for Lent

I decided that for Lent, I want to put more thought and reflection into my daily scripture reading. The way I'm going to do this is to post here each day (or most days, at least), with some thoughts on whatever I've read that day. I'm reading through Acts during my morning quiet time right now, so I'm just starting right where I've been, which is with Acts 10. Feel free to comment (the comments feature should be turned on...) and let me know what you think, too.

Acts 10:1-48--Peter and Cornelius
It's so interesting that Peter is staying with Simon the tanner, who would have been considered ritually unclean by Jews, according to my study Bible. Why was Peter staying there before he had a vision from the Spirit that convinced him that God shows no partiality?

Anyway, I love this story! One of the important themes of the book of Acts is the work of the Spirit, and this story is right there at the top of the list, showing how the Spirit is mad busy, getting people on-line with this new gospel and the movement called the Way. We've seen Peter screw things up in all 4 gospels, but he's still named the founder of the church by Jesus, and here, he gets a special message that turns some of the new church's world up-side-down! (Not everybody in the Jerusalem church liked it that Peter had this change of heart.) I really wonder what went through Peter's mind, when everything happened just as it did--he was on the rooftop praying, he got hungry, he had this vision, and then the three men from Cornelius's house showed up and the vision made a whole lot more sense to him. And then he just went with them! Did he even stop to be amazed at the situation? What goes through someone's head when the Spirit meddles so much in the midst of things?

I wonder what Cornelius was thinking, too. What's it like to be able to be so receptive that when a holy messenger shows up, you don't just lose your mind? We'd think Peter would be cooler with that than Cornelius, but scripture just says Cornelius was startled, and then he listened to what the angel had to say. He did as he was told, and what an amazing gift of the Spirit, to receive Peter into his home, to see Peter learn this crucial lesson in the life of the burgeoning church, and then to receive teaching from Peter and receive the Spirit and baptism! We don't always know how things worked in the early church, but it's still so amazing when we see that whole families were brought into the church together and received the good news. I wonder what it was like...but I guess I kind of know what it was like, too! How did we respond when we were brought into the family of faith, and when we first understood what all that meant?

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