Peter was bewildered about the meaning of the vision. Just then, the messengers sent by Cornelius discovered the whereabouts of Simon’s house and arrived at the gate. Calling out, they inquired whether the Simon known as Peter was a guest there.
While Peter was brooding over the vision, the Spirit interrupted him, “Look! Three people are looking for you. Go downstairs. Don’t ask questions; just go with them because I have sent them.”
So Peter went downstairs and told them, “I’m the one you are looking for. Why have you come?”
They replied, “We’ve come on behalf of Cornelius, a centurion and righteous man, a God-worshipper who is well-respected by all Jewish people. A holy angel directed him to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.” Peter invited them into the house as his guests.
The next day he got up and went with them, together with some of the believers from Joppa. They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Anticipating their arrival, Cornelius had gathered his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in order to honor him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Get up! Like you, I’m just a human.” As they continued to talk, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them, “You all realize that it is forbidden for a Jew to associate or visit with outsiders. However, God has shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean. For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without objection. I want to know, then, why you sent for me.”
Cornelius answered, “Four days ago at this same time, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was praying at home. Suddenly a man in radiant clothing stood before me. He said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayers, and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to him. Therefore, send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, located near the seacoast.’ I sent for you right away, and you were kind enough to come. Now, here we are, gathered in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has directed you to say.”
Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another.
We are in the midst of a disaster. A disaster not producing natural destruction, but destruction of the human being. We have COVID-19 and Multi-Symptom Inflammatory Disease (children to young adult) happening to people all around us. There are ways to lessen the effect of these two diseases. Data is kept, charts are posted, and we can follow the course of watching cases continue to rise in our conference.
The other disaster, one that data and charts are not being shared on daily basis is racism. Racism is taking a toll on human beings, on all humans. We should be just as concerned with the damage of this disaster as we are other disasters. Just like a natural disaster, COVID-19, and MSIC, how to deal with racism belongs to the community. Community means you and me!
Growing up in the ‘60s, I saw the news and heard about how my brothers and sisters in Christ were being treated, yet our dinner time conversation was around how all people are created in the image of God. We had people of color in our home, and we went to their homes. We dined together. Even though I knew what was happening in the state of Alabama and beyond, that knowing did not become a part of me. I was taught that all people are the children of God, and that is how I have always treated everyone. The racism taking place, the pictures, news stories from this summer have rocked my life. I am so disheartened that individuals treat others the way pictures and stories have shown.
Now, here we are, gathered in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has directed you to say. Peter said, I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. (vv.33b -34).
Church (people of God) – we cannot wait for others to fix our disaster. We cannot wait for government to make the much-needed change to policies. Now is the time for us to be the change.
Will you be the change?
Prayer for Reflection
Creator God, Who made humanity in Your image to reflect the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may we strive to hear Your words, it is good, very good. Amen.