This weekend we will celebrate World Communion Sunday. Thanks to Bob LaTurner, the different breads on our communion table will remind us that we will be celebrating with people around the world. You are also invited to wear clothing from other cultures to church, if you have them.
During the sermon time, I want to take a few minutes to reflect with you on some of the symbols we saw in the rallies in Charlottesville on August 12. I want to think about some of the visions that were reflected in that rally.
Then I want to look at the story of the feeding of the 5,000 plus people in the Gospel of Luke. You can read this story in Luke 9:12-17. What kind of vision does Jesus offer to us there?
One of the struggles the earliest Christians had to face was how to define community. Who is inside and who is outside? Who is included and who is excluded? What do you have to do or be in order to be a Christian? I assume this is a universal question for humans since the beginning of human consciousness: whom does God love? How wide the circle should be drawn? Which people are our people?
In Acts 10:9-16 Peter was hungry. While he was praying, he had a vision of a large sheet being lowered from the heavens by the four corners. The sheet was full of all kinds of animals. Some of them were on the kosher list, approved for a good Jewish guy like Peter to eat. Some were not on the list. Well actually, they were on the bad list; the list that thou shalt not eat. Picture seafood or pork, for example. As Peter looks at all these animals, God tells Peter to get up and eat. Peter protests, saying, “I’ve never eaten anything ‘unclean’ in all my life.” The voice of God then says to Peter something to the effect of, “If God tells you to eat it, you should eat it.”
The vision, it turns out, is not really about food. It is God’s way of telling Peter to overcome the limited vision he has inherited to reach out and share the love of Jesus with non-Jews.
Perhaps today God is telling you and me that we need to expand our vision.
This weekend we will celebrate God’s Big, Beautiful Vision of Diversity.
I look forward to worshipping with you.
Did you know that current sermons are on our website. You can go to www.normalfirst.org (scroll down to bottom of home page) to click on these links.