A Meditation for 24 April 2016, the 5th Sunday of Easter (Year C). The meditation is based on Acts 11: 1 – 18, Revelation 21: 1 – 16, and John 13: 31 – 35.
Here are my thoughts for this past Sunday. Got a little bit behind in my work and struggling to catch up.
Let’s begin by expanding on the thoughts behind Peter’s refusal to eat certain foods. Peter was undoubtedly an observant Jew so he had grown up obeying those dietary laws, rules, and regulations.
But it was very likely that he and everyone else at that time what those laws, rules, and regulations were the way they were. There were foods that you could not eat with other foods and there were foods that you could not eat at all and that was they way it was. The reason or reasons for these laws, rules, and regulations was lost in the passage of time but were based on the early days of the Exodus when food storage and preservation were at a premium. The people who began the Exodus understood this but this understanding got lost over time.
How many of us hold onto attitudes and behaviors that we grew up without understanding why we do? How many times do our actions towards others reflect “old” thinking?
The problem for so many people today is that they remain locked in this “old” way of thinking, often times without realizing it. There are those who read the words of John the Seer in the Book of Revelation and see a fulfillment of the past, of the actions of a vengeful and hateful God. But the Seer’s words are a new vision of the world, a new beginning, an opportunity to begin anew and not a continuation of the old. The Seer’s Revelation was never, as President John Kennedy said in the concluding part of his speech to the nation on 22 October 1962, a victory of might but a vindication of what was right. The Book of Revelation is not a justification of the old ways but the knowledge of the new ways.
But how do we achieve the Kingdom the Seer foresaw? How do we establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth as Christ so many times proclaimed He had come to establish?
Do we create military armies that will destroy our armies? Do we create laws, rules, and regulations that echo our prejudices and hatred, which reap vengeance on those we hate and despise?
Or do we do as Jesus told those who heard Him that day two thousand years ago that we are to love each other as He loved us? Are we to act in such a way that when others see us, they will see Christ?
It is very hard to throw away the old ideas, the old ways. We heard that in Peter’s thoughts written in the Book of Acts. But Peter understood what he had to do.
The assurance and presence of God through Christ gives us the same comfort and strength that Peter received so that we can cast aside the old and claim the new, so that we can have a new vision of the world.