Tag: peter

Forgiven and Called

Sermon, Epiphany 2A, 19 January, 2014Lamb of God

St Petri

John 1:29-42

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[a]

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[b]).

I heard of a tourist who visited a church in Germany somewhere. She was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s bell tower. She asked the locals why it was there and she was told that when the church was being built, a very long time ago, a workman fell from a high scaffold.

His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.

How did he survive? Well, it just happened that at that very moment of the fall a flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower, and this bloke landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved. To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell.

Landing on top of the Lamb…. Saved by a lamb… John the Baptist saw this in Jesus, who he names “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” in our text (John 1:29).

It is a strange name to be called but it also name rich in spiritual life for us…

It is a name that is pregnant with meaning from the Old Testament experience of God’s people and john the Baptist and then john the Apostle see this and proclaim it to the world.

Let’s take a quick look at the rich texture of this name of Jesus and what it means for you and me.

We have to see Jesus in terms of those big events way back in the Exodus with Moses and God’s people. In the crescendo of those 10 plagues and the defeat of evil, God tells his people kill a choice lamb and smear the blood of the lamb on their door frames so that their lives would be spared from God’s final judgment and defeat of Egypt and its gods. The people of the Exodus were saved by the blood of the sacrificed Lamb.

Later on, when God had given his people a ritual pattern of worship there was the one day of the year (Day of Atonement) when the High priest was called to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle and later in the temple to sprinkle the blood of a sacrifices lamb over the mercy seat or ark of the covenant containing the ten commandments God gave his people. On this day the priest sprinkled blood over the ark of the covenant thereby enacting God’s forgiveness of all their sin and the re-dedication of their life with him by his grace and love.

Also a sacrificial lamb was sent out of the city into the desert to “bear the weight” of the people’s sin. This lamb or goat was called a “scapegoat” because by its sacrifice the people were saved from God’s judgment on their many sins. (Leviticus 16:15-22).

In the Prophets of the Old Testament, the promised Saviour is often pictured as a “Suffering Servant” who will be like a “lamb led to the slaughter” as he bears the sins of many (Isaiah 53)

So, in the Old Testament God both gave his people ways in which they could ritually get rid of their sins by means of the Passover Lamb, the scape-goat, the ritual offerings of lambs and other animals and that special day of year when as a nation their sins were atoned for by the sacrificial lamb.

No wonder John the Baptist and John the Apostle along with the other gospel writers and the early church could see Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away their sin and the sin of anyone who comes to him in repentance in and faith.

This is not just some Old Testament Jewish history thing but a spiritual now thing for you and me. This is not just some nice info to have on the bible should you ever have to answer a bible round at a quiz night somewhere, this is living faith now…

In the water of baptism we fell immersed in the water and the Word and there Jesus, the sacrificial lamb who was condemned by God in our place, stopped our fall with his own life. There we were dipped in the blood of the Lamb and made pure. On that rugged cross he was crushed by our sin and in his amazing grace he sat us up straight and sure with a new life lived in the very presence of our God.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, has given us the gift that makes all the difference in the world – he gave us the supernatural gift of forgiveness. John says that this is what Jesus, the Lamb of God specializes in – forgiveness, forgiveness of that “other us” that separated us from the love and mercy of our God.

Not only has God given us the gift which only He can give – forgiveness of any sin and dark thing, freedom from having to follow our dark impulses as they tear ourselves and others apart, and new life lived in the pure and wonderful light of God’s grace and truth – he has given us these greatest gifts for a purpose.

John the Apostle makes it clear in our text that Jesus is the forgiver of our souls alright, and he also caller of our souls. He forgives and calls. His forgiveness and new life are also a call to follow – follow him and every word that he speaks.

We come to a problem when we think of our calling – or our answering the call. To have a calling is to set our hearts and minds on the one who calls. To live our calling as Jesus’ own people in our world means following his direction, listening to what he says and then doing it – because he says it.

Often we don’t know what to do or say or even doubt that doing anything that Christians are supposed to do really are worth doing. Often I think we find ourselves doing everything but following the word of Jesus and doing it in practice everyday. We have misguided goals.

Our Misguided Goals:

I read this during the week and it struck a chord with me….

There’s an emptiness in pursuing anything less than God’s call. Darrell Bock is one of those baby boomers who has entered mid-life. A teacher at Dallas Theological Seminary, he writes in Christianity Today how as a young, idealistic man, headed for seminary, he thought being a successful Christian meant “being a winner for God, taking control, and doing all I could for his kingdom…The essence of our spirituality was to do all we could for God in the 40 or so years we had.” Now, at mid-life, he has discovered that such spirituality is empty. Much of it was influenced by American culture with its bent toward independence and self-fulfillment. Darrell writes:

“Many pews on Sunday morning are filled with people seeking God, praying like mad, studying the Word, but who still wonder why God seems so distant.

Maybe it is because our culture has taught us to pursue goals that do not bring us closer to him. Perhaps those goals undermine the relationships we are to have with him and with others.

What are some of our misguided goals?

  • “Where our culture says, ‘Seek your place in the world!’ our God says, ‘Seek the kingdom of God.’
  • Where our culture bids us to ‘find yourself!’ God calls us to ‘lose yourself, and so find life.’
  • Where our culture calls us to ‘be your own self-made person!’ our God calls us to become ‘members together of one body…’
  • Where our culture teaches us to ‘look to your own needs and interests!’ God calls us to have ‘the attitude of Christ Jesus, who took on the nature of a servant.’
  • Where our culture promises, ‘You can have it all!’ God calls us to ‘consider it rubbish, that we might gain Christ.’
  • Where our culture mandates, ‘Be at the top of your game!’ God calls us to ‘be crucified with Christ.’

Friends, Andrew found out first hand that his life was centred on and surrounded by the call of Jesus to come with him and take away the sin of the world. He must have discovered such clarity about life as he left his old life and took that hardest step of all – the first step in answering the call of Jesus.

He had to tell his big brother, Simon. He went and found Simon and Simon was changed forever and given a new life, now as a man called “Rock” (Peter). These brothers would live the call with their heart, mind, hands and feet and they would give up their lives earlier than they should have following the call of the One who alone could change their hearts and make them so much more that they ever could have been.

Through these two people, and another 10 like them, the history of the world as we know it would be altered beyond recognition and people on the other side of the world would know what happened this day when the Lamb of God sent from the Almighty to restore the human race to its original place in God’s heart of love called two brothers into his community of forgiveness.

Here we are and here is the Lamb of God who has taken away our darkness. Can we give up trying to figure it all out by sheer intellect or super-spiritual activity and hear the call and follow?

The Lamb is still forgiving and calling normal people like Andrew and Peter and making them strong a significant part of his mission to forgive the sins of the whole world.

He even is calling you – no matter how young, old, smart, tired, busy, wounded, happy, weighed down or successful in the world’s eyes you may be.

He is calling us this year to be different, to get on board his mission train, to throw caution and any self-worship out the window and love each other and the people of this community.

He is calling, will you follow….

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Share your high a low for the week or Christmas period.

Read the text slowly noting anything that stands out to you….. If there was a biblical scholar in the room, what would you ask?

trace the “Lamb of God” theology that is mentioned in the sermon – from the Passover to the Worship of Israel to the Prophets to John the Baptist adding in any other key parts f that theme you know about (if any) and then think about Jesus as that sacrificial Lamb whom God has given to us and the whole world so that people’s sins can be dealt with – not in judgement but in God’s grace. Share your thoughts/understanding of this rich biblical teaching on Jesus….

I said we are “forgiven for a purpose”. That comes from this text about Andrew and peter and the others being called by Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin.

i also referred to baptism as the moment in time that all of the benefits of of Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sin and death came to us. Romans 6:1-7 on that….

We are “forgiven and called”. What have you been called to in your life? Has there been one calling or a few? Share a part of your story….

if you could name just one “misguided goal” you may have had what would that goal be and how did you see this and return to trusting Jesus for forgiveness and a new start? Share your story…

I contrasted God’s goals with ours…..,

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  • “Where our culture says, ‘Seek your place in the world!’ our God says, ‘Seek the kingdom of God.’
  • Where our culture bids us to ‘find yourself!’ God calls us to ‘lose yourself, and so find life.’
  • Where our culture calls us to ‘be your own self-made person!’ our God calls us to become ‘members together of one body…’
  • Where our culture teaches us to ‘look to your own needs and interests!’ God calls us to have ‘the attitude of Christ Jesus, who took on the nature of a servant.’
  • Where our culture promises, ‘You can have it all!’ God calls us to ‘consider it rubbish, that we might gain Christ.’
  • Where our culture mandates, ‘Be at the top of your game!’ God calls us to ‘be crucified with Christ.’

Which of these stands out you you a the moment and why?

Close with a prayer asking the Lord to help us receive his forgiveness in baptism and the Lord’s Supper and then be people of his cross who give up our own lives for the life and hope of others.

Living the Gospel (Galatians Week 3) + Conversation Starters

Sermon, Pentecost 4C, Sunday June 16, 2013, St PetriGalatians-Living-the-Gospel_medium

Series ‘ Galatians: Living the Gospel, Week 3

Living the Gospel

Galatians 2: 15-21

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[a] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

There’s nothing quite like a local church community in terms of being a community with all kinds of people in it. The diversity of people personalities and experiences in a local church is one of the things that makes a local church such an amazing place.

Of course, because we are human, sometimes the differences we have can create a bit of tension and even conflict.

People may think that the first church community was never in conflict, very unified and quite perfect. But it wasn’t! Paul tells of a conflict between he and Peter.

Peter and Paul had spent fifteen days together before this letter was written when Paul first went down to Jerusalem to consult with Peter about the message he was proclaiming among the Gentiles. All seemed to go very well on that occasion (Gal 1:18). After that meeting, Paul was happy to testify that “God was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews…. (Gal 2:8).

But when Peter came up into Gentile Antioch and Paul observed something about Peter’s behaviour that didn’t quite line up with the gospel of Jesus, the challenge was on.

Paul noticed an hypocrisy driven by fear in the behaviour of Peter. When no Jewish colleagues were around in Antioch, Peter was one of the Gentles. He ate with Gentiles and did not keep the Jewish law among the people. But when the Jewish Christians came up from Jerusalem, all of a sudden, Peter returned to the Jewish law by not eating with Gentiles and returning to the food laws of Jewish people.

Peter was engaged in that “gospel +” living we have been talking about.

Gospel + something else to get God’s grace.

Peter was leaving the gospel of God’s underserved love received only by means of faith in Jesus the Messiah by adding something extra to it for his wellbeing. The “plus” was nationalism. He was insisting that Christians can’t be really pleasing to God unless they become Jewish in their lifestyle and belief. This is just another form of legalism – or relying on the Law for our wellbeing before God and with each other.

Peter was rebuilding what had once been torn down and therefore showing that he himself was indeed a lawbreaker before God, says Paul (Gal 2:18). Before we point the finger at Peter too long, we might look our own legalisms…

Our Mistake?

We have similar sorts of exclusive social behaviour based on a failure to trust the gospel of Jesus as our only means of wellbeing, community and life.

Being Sectarian: It is extremely easy to stress our own distinctiveness in terms of teaching and story and way of being church in order to really say that our church is superior and our belief more authentic or pure that others’.

Class, Nation and/or race distinction: We human beings, and even us redeemed people of God, seem to thrive on making distinctions to feel superior.

We seem to pick just about any difference between us, be it social standing, level of education, income or the place we live in of anything else to cluster in groups and speak about “those other people” in an attempt to cope with our feelings of inadequacy, our lack of understanding of others and our fears of difference.

Taking ourselves too seriously: This is taking our own preferences too seriously and loading them up with moral significance which in the end is only cultural.

EG. Being a church with a certain reserve, less visibly seen emotional expressiveness and feeling superior to those in churches that have more emotional expressiveness and vice-versa.

We struggle to sit with the reality that we just different and make our differences articles of faith when they really may be only cultural differences between people.

We can easily believe that our customs and music and way of gathering are spiritually better than others, when in fact they are just different.

Gospel Response:

Paul declares, “God did not have fellowship with you, Peter, on the basis of your race, culture, custom and keeping of rules.

So, though you were very good and faithful in keeping these customs and rules, these had nothing to do with God coming to you with the hand of friendship and loving you in his Son, Jesus”. In fact, this way of living was really all about you – you at centre, you first then God. It is that old “gospel reversal” of which we have spoken.

GOSPEL REVERSAL LIVING

I think, act, do, keep the law well → God responds by accepting me

So, Peter (or any of us), you cannot have fellowship with God and each other on the basis of customs, race or nationality – these are not where your heart and your wellbeing lie (Gal 2:15-16).

Our only foundation to be united and effective and faithful to our God in life and our only basis for fellowship with him and each other is the gospel of God’s grace given in Jesus. He makes us one. He makes brings us together and gives us meaning and purpose for living.

But see here how the gospel actually shapes not just Paul’s thinking and his faith but his action and his relationships…

The gospel message our lives speak is;

NOT “Try harder”

BUT “Remember God’s grace for you” (the gospel)

EG. Racism is wrong not only because it hurts people but because it is fundamentally opposed to the gospel of God’s grace received by faith by anyone who calls on the name of the Lord.

Racism is then just a continuation of gospel + living and belief in one part of our lives. It is borne of the desire to feel we are in some way “better’ or “righteous” over against others. It is ignoring the truth or just plain forgetting the truth that we are accepted, of great value, loved and we belong to a community by God’s gracious hand given in Jesus through our baptism.

Racism, like any other divide we put in place to feel more accepted, secure, superior, is a failure to live our lives under or in line with the gospel.

So Paul challenges his brother not by making him feel guilty but by reminding him of who he is and whose he is in the gospel of Jesus

So, we see here the way of the gospel:

NOT

You better get better in your behaviour→ God’s will accept you

BUT

God has loved you and accepts you in Jesus → Now respond

Friends, this is the Christian way of living with difference and even at times, “opposing” someone. When you are trying to motivate someone or help them see a truth of God in a particular area of life or wanting them to find the riches of God’s grace given in Jesus for them, then you are best to use God’s grace and mercy as the motivator and not just more rules and the guilt and fear that come from the law.

Yes, Peter’s behaviour was wrong and Paul said this “in front of them all”. And yet he did not only say the behaviour was wrong but then brought them back to the gospel as the only way of renewal, forgiveness and change – he talked about God’s grace as our only hope and life and urged Peter to remember who he was in God’s grace – in his baptism.

He says to a fearful Peter, “Peter, you do not need these people’s approval. You already have got Christ’s”. There was no need for “gospel +” living. The gospel is enough for you.

When we speak the good news of God’s grace as we talk about our wrongs we can speak quite strongly and directly and it will have a much higher chance of being received because it will show that in the end we are actually for the person not against them – and that God is actually for them and with them, not against them and apart from them.

EG.

Parents, when your teenager/young adult leaves the house to go to a party, what is the gospel thing to say?

Don’t do wrong tonight OR Remember who you are tonight

To a friend who is scared and yet outwardly rejecting the church and the gospel we love, which is the gospel way to be?

Friend, you better come to church OR God is still with you and is still calling you back home

When you are wronged: What is the gospel thing to say and do when you are wronged or can see hypocrisy in your parents or your colleagues…

Friend, when you did that or say that it hurts me and others but God still loves both of us and is calling us to forgive each other as he has forgiven us in Jesus.

Friends, what we hear Paul doing is living in the gospel and it is the hope we bring to our parenting, our teaching, our friendships, our marriages, our work place.

Gospel mission as church?

Raising up the gospel of God’s gracious kindness already offered in the person of Jesus for people who can never be superior enough by keeping a million rules and expectations but are freely loved and accepted by a God who really is for them and not against them is the way we do mission as a church.

Remember the grace God has showered upon you – and what does living out and enjoying that grace look like in that situation?

Friends, may we be people of grace and our church be a place of gospel grace – truthful, direct yes. But all for the goal of the gospel – so we all live in the gospel – the underserved beautiful approval and acceptance and love of our God.

Is it possible? Can we be a people of grace and a church of grace? Can we truly live in line with the gospel we have received?

Yes. Why? Because…..

We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

And that we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. The life we now live in the body, we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.

The grace of Jesus, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Spirit keep us in the gospel. Amen.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

1. When you ponder that call to “live your life in line with the gospel”, what kind of things come to mind for you?

2. In which area of your life do you think you are walking in line with the gospel?

3. Are there people in your church you have not been “eating with” because they are not “like you”? What lies beneath this kind of attitude we sometimes have?

4. How would you explain Paul’s little phrase that sums up the gospel “Justified by faith” to someone asking you about that?

5. Share a story about how you have used the god news of God’s grace to help someone see that they needed to challenge their behaviour or attitude (maybe in your parenting or as a teacher or in your workplace and the like…)

6. How would you explain the difference between being moral and being a Christian to someone who thinks being good makes them acceptable to God?

Sermon, Easter 6B/Mothers Day

Sunday May 13, 2012, St Petri.

 No Favourites

Acts 10: 44-48

45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

Friends, last week we were left in no doubt that the Holy Spirit is way ahead of us making so called “chance meetings” occur. I wonder how many “chariots” were entered or at least presented!? How many Directors prompts in the show called, Mission Dei” did you receive and did you jump up to the conversation?

Well, sometimes even the Holy Spirit has to go to amazing lengths to make these significant moments between disciples and searchers happen. What we hear in chapter 10 of the Book of Acts is a show of just how determined the Spirit of Jesus is to get us, his holy people, into the various “chariots’ with searchers around us.

It takes so much for the Holy Spirit to get this one done. It takes a whole lot of ground shaking challenge by the Holy Spirit to get peter into this particular “chariot” – this particular conversation.

The Holy Spirit first of all prepares the ground for this BIG moment up ahead. First of all, this interesting man, Cornelius, needs some work.

He is a Centurion in the great Roman military machine that has Judea and most of the known world under rule. Cornelius commands 100 men. He lives in a beautiful Mediterranean sea-side city of Caesarea, named after Caesar Augustus. It is the capital of the Roman military in this far-from Rome province. He lives in a neighbourhood of military colleagues and friends who live on the sea shore in their lovely Roman villas next to the Hippodrome (horse racing track) and the amphitheatre. He goes to the races. He has a bet. He goes to the show….life is good.

We hear something unexpected about Cornelius. He is a “God-fearer”. He believes there is only one God, not many as do most of his colleagues. He respects the moral law of the Jewish people. In other words, many would say, Cornelius is a “good man”. He is about to find out that being a “good man” is not enough. He is not complete.

The Spirit has been at work in this man’s life for years it seems. But now is the time for a new conversation. The Spirit creates unrest and action by means of a dream. “I have heard your praying and seen your generous giving to others, says the Spirit. You need to meet this man of God named peter. He is over at the tanner’s house about 30kms away in Joppa”. Cornelius shares this with one of his men – also a “God-fearer”. He sends two men to find this Peter.

Part one done. The ground is made ready by the Sprit. Now for the harder task; to convince an insider to get to an outsider!

Peter is on the move in and around Jerusalem. Joppa and Caesarea are only 30-40 km’s from Jerusalem. At Simon the tanner’s house, Peter goes up for an afternoon snooze in the heat of the day and is also unsettled into action by means of a Holy Spirit initiated dream or vision.

This Jewish law abiding man of God cannot stomach the dream. It is a call to do something he has been taught NOT to do all his life. He is told to kill and eat every kind of unclean animal as laid down in the Torah! “You’re going to get dirty on this one, Peter!” Peter protests at this gross demand of God. He takes the call to mix it with the wrong people in the wrong places as an insult to his prized status as a chosen one of God. This mission is below him. You can hear him thinking, “Surely Jesus does not want me to break the rules of my family and faith to really mix it with people I have been told all my life are no good, below me, not worthy of God and not worth my time and effort?”

The Holy Spirit says, “Yes. That is exactly what Jesus is calling to do now. As Peter tries to recover from this ground shifting assault on his sensibilities, Cornelius’ men turn up, looking for him.

The conversation has begun. Cornelius’ men tell Peter the story about their Centurion. Peter starts to get what God is asking him to do. He sleeps on it. In the morning they all hit the road for the moment the Holy Spirit has orchestrated.

Peter gets there and does not find just one Centurion, but one centurion and his while clan – servants, relatives, babies, grandparents, dogs and cats! They tell each other the stories of what they have noticed God doing in their lives – they share their dreams and the actions that ensued.

Peter goes with what he knows. He tells the gathering about what he is now beginning to understand through what he knows of the Word, what he knows of Jesus and what he is beginning to hear in the recent events directed by the Spirit of God through various people and sometime quite directly.

“I now know that God does not show favouritism but accepts every kind of person from every kind of background, skin colour, language group, sub-culture and place who honour him and do what he says – do what is right in God’s sight” he says.

While Peter is going with what he knows even he is astonished that the Holy Spirit comes upon these outsiders as he had come upon all the insiders at the Festival a just before at Pentecost. He and the other Jewish followers of Jesus, we “astonished’ that this would happen. “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have”, they say.

Now in our time this may not seem such a big deal. We are the unclean gentiles who have been included for a long time now. But what about the reality that God still shows no favouritism and seeks all kinds of people in our town?

What if like peter and the others, we viewed everyone, and I mean everyone, who was not of our family heritage, our nationality and custom as inferior, unclean, unacceptable to God, in line for his judgement and completely unworthy of our time effort and money? What if this was embedded in our family gatherings, our worship gatherings, our media and your culture in general?

Peter and the others thought that church was only for the chosen ones. They thought that Jesus’ love and his wonderful peace was just for them who were already in the church. They could not really believe that what they had been given by God was also for those outside.

What if all your life you had been brought up to view all “those people” different from you as lower, dirty, even incapable of good at times. All your life you had lived under family rules and customs and church practice that did their best to keep you, the chosen few, out of reach to Cornelius and his “type”? What if this was who you were and the Holy Spirit cracked open this cacoon by sending you to “those people’ and then using you to bring in a complete revolution in a lounge room!?

If God truly shows no favourites and really does want all people to share in the love and hope of Jesus as we here do, then what does that mean for being St Petri?

  •  There is no one around this town who is excluded from the reach of the Holy Spirit. He goes where and to whom he wants.
  • He invites us to get into the chariot, or the lounge room, or the school ground or the church building, or the factory or office or winery or park or pub with people he is preparing – like Cornelius and simply go with what we know of the Word, our experience of Jesus and what he has been doing lately.
  • There is no one we should favour, exclude, avoid, be scared of or shy away from on any basis as we listen to the Word of the Spirit together and do what he says in our own ways, words and style with what he had given us to share – everything.
  • When we gather in whatever way we are to be as inclusive as we can – inclusive in how we invite people, what we say when we are together, what we don’t say – not out of being politically Correct, but out of love for people whom God loves and respect for the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.

“God indeed shows no favouritism”: A gift and a call for us now.

Think this through, friend. Dream about it. Talk about it. Seek the Lord on it. Do what you hear him saying when he says it. It will be surprising! You will be an instrument of hope and love and this is what they might say about us. St Petri people? O, they don’t have favourites. They celebrate life and they share the love and hope of Jesus with anyone everywhere!