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Acts 10:1-16, Peter and Cornelius

Thursday, April 19

Thinking Outside the God-Box

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

thinking outside the God-box

Peter's vision of his mission was still somewhat limited. He knew he had to bring the good news of the risen Christ to as many Jews as he could reach. But it still hadn't yet dawned on him to bring the word out into the greater world. Until now. God set in motion both Cornelius, who was a man of prayer despite being a centurion of the Italian Cohort, and Peter, who was preparing for a small-minded mission. God stirred both of these men to think outside the box, to follow a vision from God, and to go and do things they never would have dreamed.

We have a terrible tendency to put God in a box. We think we know what God can and will do, what God could but won't do. We think we know what we are capable and incapable of doing. But if we dig deep for the courage to let God (and us) out of our conceived boxes, there is no limit to what God and we can do. Quit a job and start a successful business? Why not? Change your status from married to married-with-children? Heck, yeah! Heal? Yippers! Pay down all your debt? Easy-peasy. Sometimes we just have to be open to the prodding of the Spirit to say "yes" to the things that need "yes" and "no" to the things that need "no."

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 10:1-16

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called. He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” He stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” He answered, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter; he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him, and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.

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.

Earlier Event: April 18
Acts 9:36-43, Peter in Lydda and Joppa
Later Event: April 20
Acts 10:17-23a, Peter and Cornelius