Voices and Visions that Shatter Tradition
Passage: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Acts 11:1-18
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 In the reading from Acts, Peter is defending breaking down the barriers between Jews and Gentiles. All are chosen, not just one nationality or one way of worship or one set of dietary observances. Peter had an elusive dream..., But there were real voices, real people, and real challenges that helped Peter make literal sense of this vision. Divine inspiration cracked open the door that led Peter to eat forbidden foods, to invite foreigners into God’s Kingdom, and then - this may have been the most difficult - to advocate amongst the skeptical for the inclusion of outsiders. God has given Cornelius and his family a full portion of the Holy Spirit and we need to affirm these former “outsiders” as full-fledged members of the emerging Christian movement. I like what Methodist Pastor Bruce Epperly wrote about this passage in “Living the Holy Adventure.” Acceptance is not grounded in homogeneity or uniformity but divine blessing. In accepting Cornelius as a full participant in the Christian way, the emerging faith is acknowledging that diversity is a gift of God and that God will be revealed in a variety of ways, according to culture, ethnicity, and personal experience. 

Listen for that voice of God.. 

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