From the Well - 4/17/2019

Earth from Space.jpg

Acts 10:34-43 (MSG) 
Peter fairly exploded with his good news: "It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!  It makes no difference who you are or where you're from-if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.  The Message he sent to the children of Israel-that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again-well, he's doing it everywhere, among everyone.  "You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change.  Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.  "And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross.  But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen.  Not everyone saw him-he wasn't put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand-us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead.  He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead.  But we're not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets."

There's a Peanuts cartoon that depicts Lucy and Linus pulling on a chicken wishbone. Lucy is explaining to Linus how the wishbone works, Linus asks, "Do I have to say the wish out loud?"  Lucy says, "Of course, if you don't say it out loud it won't come true." Lucy makes her wish and says, "I wish for four new sweaters, a new bike, a new pair of skates, a new dress and one hundred dollars."

Linus goes next, "I wish for a long life for all of my friends. I wish for world peace, I wish for great advancements in medical research." At this, Lucy takes the wishbone and throws it away. "Linus,"  she says, "That's the trouble with you, you're always spoiling everything."

Peter's sermon spoiled things for many. The sermon, which we heard from the book of Acts, was preached in the house of a Gentile. This was extremely disturbing to Jewish Christians. Just as disturbing was the fact that Cornelius was a high-ranking officer in the army of the Roman Empire. Cornelius was one of those who ruled. Peter was one who was ruled over.

This is a major turning point for Peter and followers of the resurrected Christ. Suddenly, Christ came not for a few but for everyone. Peter realizes that the movement initiated by Christ's life, ministry, death, and resurrection is for all people and he preaches that "God shows no partiality,"  that "All who fear God and do right are acceptable,"  that "He is Lord of all,"  and that "Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness."

In other words, God's presence from this point forward will bring down fences and barriers that separate us from one another and from God. Unfortunately, we don't live in a borderless world. There are so many things that drive us apart. We live in a world of religious, racial, political, and emotional separation. These invisible borders and barriers separate us even more so than the physical ones.

Astronauts tell us that when they look back at earth from outer space there is an absence of artificial borders that separate nations and people from one another. The ecological unity of all of God's creation appears evident. Followers of the resurrected Christ are called to live this heightened vision every day. Christ came for all of creation. Think about it.

Matthew