Thought for the Day by Janet Lindley of All Hallows’:
Peter had just arrived in Jerusalem, reunited with Jewish Christian believers after his travels. He hadn’t just been travelling physical miles. God had been speaking to him about who was in, and who was out. But Peter had not brought the others up to speed.
This was no routine briefing from Peter. Inclusion of unclean gentile folk required a radical shift thinking for the early Church. An awakening – God’s incredible generous love encompassed all of humanity not an exclusive few.
Despite Peter’s convincing speech, discussion, debate and argument rumbles on further in Acts. In chapter 15, he meets Paul to thrash out the early church code of conduct for non-Jewish believers at the ‘Council of Jerusalem’.
It takes time to get with new thinking, to get our heads around a new idea. Not just understand how or why it has come about but also what it means for us and the part we might play.
Recently, what it is to worship has been major new thinking for us to digest. Our three churches are no longer just physical places but also online. Underpinning all of this, has been reminder that worship is not just for the few. What we do is a joyful expression, situated in our communities, to the God who embraces all people and whose love is without limits or bounds.
But worship is not just for Sundays, it can be expressed in all the ways we act, live and breathe. No part of our lives can be cut off from God’s abundant love, so every bit of our life can be offered as worship. Our choice is how to respond to God’s transforming love. It’s not a one-off special offer – this is a standing open invitation for everyone. God’s love is a glorious, generous, arms-stretched-wide love. It envelops and enfolds us so we can’t help but join in ourselves.
This creation season we are invited to respond to this love by creating space for God to speak to us about how we shape our lives. Will we allow our diaries and habits, priorities and prayers, all to be touched by God’s life-giving breath? Can we tune our ears to heaven’s whispers of God’s wonderful love? Will we open our hearts, responding in joy and praise and loving action?