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Acts 10:24-33, Peter & Cornelius

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?’
— Acts 10:29

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, May 7, 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff

battlefield.jpg

In one episode of the Star Trek television series (the original series; not the later spinoffs) entitled “Let that Be Your Last Battlefield,” two aliens board the Enterprise. One alien is white on the left side of his face and black on the other. The second alien is white on the right side of his face and black on the other. Their coloring is the only difference between them, but that is enough to make them bitter enemies. Their home planet has been devastated by the war between the two groups. They still refuse to call a truce even when they learn that they are the only survivors of their race.

For his entire life Peter had been taught to keep himself separate from the gentiles especially the Roman occupiers. To be a good Jew was to be separate from everyone except other Jews—Gods chosen people. Peter had a vision that he couldn’t interpret. Shortly after his vision Peter was visited by three men who had been sent by Cornelius. The Holy Spirit instructed Peter to follow the men. While Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his household, the Spirit descended upon the gentiles. Peter finally understood that in God’s kingdom both Jews and non-Jews were welcomed.

It is a common temptation for us to draw circles around ourselves in order to determine who is in and who is out. We’re in, of course. Those who are out might include people who have different skin color, different incomes, different nationalities and even different political viewpoints. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus, however, has erased all the circles. As Peter learned, there is no “in” or “out.” There is only “in.”

Everyone is included in God’s kingdom.

How do you include everyone? What ways do you exclude others?