Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Preparing for Pentecost 28

We might not realize it today, but the most intense challenge the first followers of Jesus met was including Gentiles into the people of God, the ecclesia. No, even more challenging was loving those Gentiles. Peter points the way.
We find it in Acts 10 and I see four points (see 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed).
1. Peter learned that other people — seen in this Gentile centurion Cornelius — were seeking God (Acts 10:2): he was a “devout man who feared God” and who “prayed constantly to God.”
2. Peter experienced his own resistance to boundary-crossing. “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (10:15). Fine and dandy, until you are asked to eat pork.
3. Peter learned that God is impartial. “God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean” (10:28). And here’s a statement that should give us all some pause: “I truly understand,” Peter reveals, “that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (10:34-35).
4. Peter learned that God dwells with all. Peter prayed and the next thing you know — Pentecost, or an extension of Pentecost, happened all over again — “the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word” (10:44).

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posted April 30, 2008 at 7:36 am

Fine and Dandy until you are asked to eat pork – and even worse to continue eating it in the face of disapproval of some of your own “tribe” (in this case Jewish Christians).
Peter learned – and learned – and continued to grow in what it means to “above all, keep fervent in your love for one another” with one another inclusive of all Christians.

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posted April 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Thanks, again, for doing this hummingbird-style. It is important to sip these chapters and let the flavor touch all the taste buds…. These were the things that I “savored” as I read:
God is always at work attracting his lost Eikons … and he does speak to those who earnestly seek him and his truth — even when they are not-yet members of the New Covenant. This is sometimes a very “inconvenient truth” to those who think Christians have the corner on all truth … and who want to discredit truth when it comes from a pagan (our “gentile”) source. Hmmm….
That God calls gentiles clean — as in acceptable to come into contact with — is huge. While the “gentile” issue is not necessarily the boundary we bump into, we sure do our share of building fences over race and gender and “essentials” verses “opinions” of the faith. Thanks for calling Jesus Creeders to take down those fences….
This went into the next point, where God’s impartiality tells us that all are acceptable — to receive God’s invitation to covenant. It struck me, though, that many want to stop with the “acceptable” on its own — as if there is no need to come to God through Jesus.
Finally, as I pondered the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I wondered if “boundary issues” are why the power of the Holy Spirit is so abundant in some places and so missing in other places? I’m sure it is more complicated that that, but I do think that our fences keep out more than we think….

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