This week Peter and Cornelius act on their visions. For Cornelius it's easy: follow orders and send for Peter, for you are to be rewarded for your prayers and alms. There seems to be no downside. The only trap that Cornelius falls into is worshiping Peter instead of God who Peter serves; the charismatic personality instead of God who gives the charism, the gift of grace.
For Peter, there's a massive departure from his comfort zone. As he points out “it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile.” It breaks his holiness code and therefor threatens the thing he values most – his relationship with the Lord. It threatens his very identity as a Jew.
Now they are together “in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded.” As a result of Peter and Cornelius acting on their visions, we have a scene of diverse people come together: Jews and Gentiles, Cornelius' family and slaves and soldiers. All come together for the purpose of hearing what God has to say through Peter.
We should also leave comfort zones, obey God's visions, come together and listen to God.
Pastor Rick Neale
Rick is serving as our contract-call pastor. He is a Teaching Elder in the PCUSA, and he has pastored churches in upstate New York and Miami, FL. After coming to Atlanta, he served as Chaplain for Oncology at Northside Hospital. His previous pastorate was at Church of the New Covenant in Doraville, GA.