Freedom from cultural norms…


Acts 10:About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” 15 The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven. 

Yesterday I wrote about the end of Acts 9 when we are told that the apostle Peter stayed with a tanner – one who prepares animal skins. It’s surprising because, according to the Jewish purity laws, staying with a tanner would make Peter unclean. But, Peter wasn’t the one driving the train at this point. It was the Holy Spirit.

So here we have another conflict with Jewish custom, this time with dietary laws. God tells Peter that all creatures are made clean by God, so he should eat whatever is placed before him. There’s a clear pattern here which we will see grow as we read through Acts.

The gospel will not be constrained by cultural Judaism.

I remember when the initial shutdown occurred in March and the church wondered if it was permissible to share communion when we weren’t in the same physical space. It’s a question we’d never had to wrestle with before. And I can tell you there was vigorous conversation among my colleagues for and against virtual communion. Of course, we never thought we would still be dealing with Covid into 2021. The matter has effectively sorted itself out.

Our world has changed and we have to learn how to change with it. Today I’m wondering what customs and norms will we have to let go of in order to thrive in 2021. Lord show us the way. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Freedom from cultural norms…

  1. Lyn Roger ZASTROW

    I’m sure that you are right that we will have new customs and norms. My prayer is that they are not ‘compromises’ that make our faith and ability to worship weaker. Now, more than ever, we need to look for ways to grow in faith with the change. Truly a challenge since most don’t like changes.

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