Ponder “Extravagant Welcome”

In Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles 11: 1-18, Peter’s rooftop experiences shatters his world view. What he had believed since early childhood about what was kosher and not – what was unclean and not – is radically altered by his brief conversation with God.

When have you had a world view shattered?
What did that feel like?
What other changes happened as a result?

As part of the experience, Peter finds himself challenging God. We’re not sure what Peter’s attitude is – for example, does he really challenge God or does he earnestly believe he is being tested?

When have you found yourself challenging God?
When have you wondered if you are being tested or not?
How have you been able to discern that?

Peter’s experience on the rooftop is a powerful story reminding us that sometimes we need to have our views changed. We might read this story as a simple one of Peter realizing something that seems obvious to us – that Gentiles are included in the people of God. But that’s probably because we are Gentiles, and know that we are included. Take the story a little further, and I wonder who needs to hear the message that they belong.

Is everyone welcome in church? Do they have to look and act like us in order for us to welcome them? How do we tell the community – indeed, the world – that everyone is welcome? How do we go out of your way to practice “extravagant welcome”?

I invite you to ponder these questions and come to church prepared for the Spirit to place some possibilities on your heart.

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