Reading: Acts 11: 11-18
Peter at first was hesitant to see how God’s love and grace could extend outside the Israelites. Centuries of being “God’s chosen people” and many laws and practices that kept the Israelites separate from all other people were all that Peter knew. History had shown that times of intermarriage and forming alliances always Drew the Israelites away from God.
Yet when he felt led by the Holy Spirit, Peter listened to something new. He chose to follow where he felt God was leading him. Peter’s powerful experience at Pentecost had changed him. Through the subsequent indwelling of the Spirit, Peter was being transformed from the inside out. The old was being removed as God was at work within Peter to help him more fully understand the vast scope and reach of God’s love.
Change was hard for Peter. It went against what he knew and was comfortable with. Each of us do not like change either. But often change is for the good. In the end, Peter comes to see that God loves all people, not just the Israelites. He set aside what he knew to welcome in what God knew.
Today in church we will ask people to do just this. Two services that sing hymns will be asked to sing praise songs. Three services that rarely see dramas will be asked to wrestle with a skit that challenges with a difficult message. People that are used to adults preaching will be asked to hear the Word proclaimed by two high school Seniors. It will be something new, something different. But moved by God’s presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will worship together and will each meet God in a powerful way. For this I say, thanks be to God!