Breaking Open the Word:
The Acts of the Apostles:
Reporting after the fact? Peter is challenged on two actions he took without the consent or affirmation of the assembly in Jerusalem. He was in Joppa when a centurion, an important one of the Italian Cohort, has a vision in Caesarea in which God directs him to send for Peter. Simple enough, but a complication. Cornelius, the Centurion is not Jewish, nor is he a proselyte (a convert). He is a Gentile, goyim. His home is not clean and he is not clean. He does not ascribe to the Law, to Torah. He is outside, and for Peter to go to him is a violation of even the most common levels of adherence to the purity codes. Moreover, it is reported that he stayed in Cornelius' home, at at his table and then proceeded to baptize the man's household.
Peter's explanation is a brief recounting of the events of chapter 10. He was asleep during the heat of the day under a canopy on the roof of a house...he was hungry and had a fever dream. It was a vision from God that told him to "kill, and eat" from a great cloth in which was every kind of beast, with no distinction drawn between clean and unclean. His testimony? That he argued with the Voice...and was told that what God makes clean cannot be unclean. It is then, he recounts, that he was called on to receive messengers from the Centurion to come to him. How can we argue with that?
How often DO we argue with that....that our whole mission is to remember that we are called not to draw distinctions between who can be in or who must remain out; but instead that our primary summons to the work of the Kingdom of God is to abandon ourselves to relationship with each other!.
The Revelation to John:
What is needed to make that economy come to pass? God's intervention in history is fulfilled in the Revelation when God says that all things will be made new. Every tear will be wiped dry and every fissure and breakage in relationship will be healed. God is NOT far off...God's dwelling place is in our midst. Peter, above, is one of the first to model what that lifestyle actually looks like. Are we ready?
The Gospel of John:
Glory...all of it: it goes to God in Christ. Through Christ, we become partakers in that glory. What does it look like? Love one another. Hold nothing back.
What glorifies God? All creation. Every living thing, every bit of earth, air, wind and wet glorifies God. Every molecule and atom, and every sub-atomic particle. Listen to the song...and you will hear the music.
How It All Links Up:
A great deal of "success" as servants of the living God in Christ Jesus is best summed up as allowing ourselves to get out of God's way and let God work through us. We aren't here to "win" or be "number one," rather instead we are called to be faithful, and open to relating to the creation as it unfolds around us as the true and active love of God coming to us, unfiltered, and thus flowing through us to more fully allow God's glory to shine. Open up, enter in....rejoice in knowing that we are all deeply and profoundly connected to each other.
We need to get out of our own way more often than not: when God says "get up and go" we don't get to say whether or not we consider that particular call as being in our "wheelhouse" or as our "particular charism." God simply beckons us to step out and into relationship with the Other in our lives, not to be excellent...but to be faithful.