Today's Lectionary Text
About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.
Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision that he had seen, suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared. They were asking for Simon’s house and were standing by the gate. They called out to ask whether Simon, who was called Peter, was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look, three men are searching for you. Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So Peter invited them in and gave them lodging.
The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him.
Have you ever had a prayed so hard that you had a vision from God that was so real that you had a hard time believing it? In our Focal Passage Peter has one of those prayer events. Peter’s prayer was one of those contacts from God. While Peter prayed, the Spirit came and opened his eyes to a need in his life. He was closed to Gentiles and this new faith begun by Jesus, when he came back to life, as the risen Christ. He knew in his head it was to be the way The Way would go; however, he wanted it to be someone other than him to make the move.
My friends in our reading today we do not get the complete story. It is like taking a piece of pie out of the middle. Rather a strange thought. Am I right? But, we will work with what we have.
Peter is praying and has vision or a revelation form God. In Acts 10 beginning with verse 9b we read about the vision that came to Peter while he prayer: Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. (RSV)
The vision was not about food for the stomach was about souls for the Kingdom of God. In the beginning of Chapter 10 a man named Cornelius who was a Roman centurion has a vision: 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter; 6 he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those that waited on him, 8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. (NRS)
Cornelius responds to God’s vision and sends men to get Petr and then Peter responds to his vision and goes to be the witness to Cornelius. The rest of the Chapter 10 tells us how the family of Cornelius was changed.
I believe God calls us to go to those people we may not even like to share the soul food that the Holy Spirit gives to us to share with someone who is dying due to the need for the soul food of Christ Jesus and his love for them.
Rev. D. R. “Buck” Linton-Hendrick
Harvard/Inland/Trumbull UMC’s of Nebraska
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, Jesus when you send the Holy Spirit to me and calls me to be your messenger to a hungry soul may I be willing to take you to that starving soul. Amen.
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