Today's Lectionary Text
Scripture: Acts 10:1-33At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
About noon the following 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 the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So, when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
Reflect: Once again we see the Gospel crossing another boundary. What obstacles had to be overcome before this boundary was crossed? How did this happen?
What is the significance of this story to movement of Christ’s mission in the world?
What parallels can you draw between this story and our situation and opportunities today?
Encouragement: The Foundations for Who we Are
Our meditation reminds me that one of the great things about a multicultural family is that, regardless of our language barriers, our actions speak louder than words. We have a church family where there are African Americans, Caucasians, Tongans, and Asians. We are a very diverse church but at the same time the spirit of our faith, love’ and respect each others’ cultures bind us together as one family. Put us together in a worship service, choir, potluck, dancing, and fellowship - and what a powerful and mighty force of love in action, in mission, an and outreach that is.
A Tongan former NFL player said, “We Tongans benefit from doctor Martin Luther King's dream and the African Americans’ struggle through slavery and racism.” I am very thankful for those who came before us and prepared the place, the United Methodist Church, were all we call home. Thanks to them for their stewardship of their lives to lay the foundation where we, the latecomers, benefit.
Prayer for Reflection
That radical hospitality would be part of your lifestyle and the character of your faith community so that the light of Christ may spread more wildly.
“Excerpted from the book “Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World” by Blake Busick and Christie Latona.”
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