Upside Down and Reoriented

“The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word.” (Acts 11:1 CEB)

Peter couldn’t stand still. He moved from place to place as he felt the Spirit moving him. While in Lydda he heard from the disciples in Joppa that he was badly needed. Peter heard the need, dropped everything and traveled to Joppa.

When he arrived, it was to discover that a beloved friend, Tabitha, had died. He listened to what the widows had to say about her. They showed him her handwork, clothing and tunics made for the poor. From what they showed him, he learned who she was.

Hhe put them out of the room and through prayer, brought life back to Tabitha.

He didn’t return to Lydda, though. Apparently, God had someone in mind who could do the job in Lydda. Peter remained in Joppa. And that’s when he received his vision.

The vision came three times (a Trinitarian dream, if you will.) And from this dream he learned that God’s word was not to be withheld from anyone. God wanted Peter and the disciples to move into the Gentile world.

Remember Jesus’ command? “”Therefore, go and made disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 28:19 CEB)

All nations.  Not just the Jews, but all people.  When Peter received the vision, he understood.  And in case he needed to have this affirmed, along came some Gentile disciples who accompanied him to Caesarea.  As they traveled he learned about their vision of a man named Peter who told them how they could be saved.

Peter brought God’s saving grace to the Gentile population.  He opened the door for Paul to be a missionary to the Gentiles throughout the Mediterranean world.

What doors is God calling us to open today?

There’s a restaurant I enjoy frequenting in Cleveland, OK.  On the wall over the door is a sign that says something like this:  “You are about to enter the cold, cruel world.  Hurry back.”

When we enter church, we enter sanctuary: a safe place where we can freely worship God and discern God’s call to us.  Then we enter the world.  It’s a world of joy and sadness; of life and death; of love and rage.

There is much work to do.

Where are you being called to reach out?

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.

 


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