Wednesday Whisperings April 20 2016

    April 20, 2016

The Reading:

So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying,..Three men from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.  Acts 11: 2-4, 11-12


The Whispering:

“The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.”

We are so human; so prone to labeling others. It starts when we are young, as we naively become aware of who “brings” vs. who “buys” lunch. During this election year, the candidates use separatist pronouns such as  “they” or “them” to garner support.
Those fundamentalists.
Those Muslims.
Those immigrants.
Those liberals.
Those rednecks.

Labels make it easy to dismiss entire groups of people, and we are lured into forgetting that each person is a beloved child of God.  Taken to its extreme and most nefariously, labels have been used to assign value to human beings, defining who is  “in” and who is “out” as happened in Nazi Germany and in Rwanda.  Yet each one of us is made in God’s image and beloved by God.

This lesson from Acts makes it clear that it takes neither the mark of circumcision nor a special diet to enter into the Body of Christ. There is great freedom in Christ. Love God. Love one another. That’s it.

Every time we find ourselves dismissing and labeling a group of people, we must examine our motives. For we are all one in Christ Jesus, and the Spirit calls us “not to make a distinction between them and us.”