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Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Acts 11:1–18
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.” (NRSV)
As part of my role as the Family Ministry Coordinator, I have the privilege of working with families to schedule baptisms and spend the baptism morning with them as we prepare for the service. It is always a beautiful morning, filled with excitement as friends and family check in and help the parents get their babies dressed and ready. Prior to the baptism, families are asked to attend a baptism seminar. My favorite quote from the seminar is “Baptism is a visible sign of God’s invisible grace.” God’s love and grace is meant for all people, regardless of their race, age, ethnicity, and the list goes on.
I’m sure that Peter got some backlash from people, since he was spending time teaching the Gentiles about the good news of Jesus. His reply is, “And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift God gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to argue?” Peter helped others to learn that God’s love and grace is for all, and we are called to teach others about this precious gift that we have received.
Gracious God, thank you for the amazing gift of your grace and love, even when I may not feel deserving of it. Help me to spread the good news to all people—our church family, our friends, and our neighbors. Amen.
Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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