Thought for the Day by Bob Shaw
Today’s NT reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a sermon from the Apostle Peter, the former fisherman from Roman-occupied Galilee. He was chosen by Jesus to be his leading disciple. In today’s story Peter, although born and bred a practising Jew, has been asked to travel to Caesarea to share the Good News of Jesus with a group of gentiles. He meets them in the house of a Roman centurion. The Jewish community, God’s chosen people, would have considered such an act an outrageous betrayal of their faith. Peter however goes on to tell this assembled group of foreigners that Jesus, who had been crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem, is Lord of All! He stresses that Jesus has no favourites, so anyone of any nationality who hears the gospel story and responds positively, is acceptable to God.
2000 years later Peter’s message is still being heard because we too can testify that we have been called to be Jesus’ disciples, together with millions worldwide, to spread the Gospel message of our Lord. But how should we tackle this task today? What are the words we would use to introduce people to the Good News about Jesus in today’s rapidly changing world?
I once heard a story about a little boy who confronted his grandmother with a question.
‘Grannie, did you know that Jesus is the human version of God?’
‘Yes, I did know that’ answered his grandmother,
‘But Grannie’, continued the boy, ‘Did you know that Jesus is the only human version of God?’
Well, that made his grandmother think. It made me stop and think too. It might have the same effect on you. Out of the mouth of little children!
If Jesus is the only human version of God then He is uniquely Lord of all, and the Gospel message really is universal, applying not only to people of every nationality but also to the whole of creation. The month of September has been designated ‘Creationtide’, set apart for us to carefully re-assess our collective responsibility for the stewardship of this planet. As we continue on our Christian pilgrimage through this pandemic let us hold on to the essentials of our faith following our Lord by caring not only for all of our neighbours worldwide but also the created world which God has entrusted to us.