Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Acts 10:9-23 (NRSV)
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.
Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision that he had seen, suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared. They were asking for Simon’s house and were standing by the gate. They called out to ask whether Simon, who was called Peter, was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look, three men are searching for you. Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So Peter invited them in and gave them lodging. The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him.
God gives Peter a challenge by changing Peter’s understanding of what is right and wrong. During his vision, Peter does his best to keep obeying the law about unclean foods. The correction from God is clear: “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”
Traditions and religious practices can help strengthen and develop our faith. Morning prayer, participating in worship services, supping at the Lord’s Table are some profoundly helpful ways to deepen our connection with God, but we must not forget that religion is inferior to right relationships.
God gives Peter explicit instructions to go with these “unclean” Gentile strangers. As a testament to Peter’s faith and humility, he accepted the redirection of God. I wonder if we are as willing to let God lead us out of our familiar understandings of people and relationships? It should not surprise us, nor should we refuse to obey, if God directs us to rearrange our religion or our relationships.
Lord God, thankful are we for the traditions and practices that have helped us deepen our connection with You and other human beings. However, grant us humility and faith of sufficient measure that we might submit how we relate to others and how we practice our religion to Your direction and revelation.
Go with God!