It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks (in reading the Acts of the Apostles) for St. Peter. After receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit – he became a man on fire for the Lord. He was able to cure a cripple, he has taken the Sanhedrin head on and hasn’t backed down but yelled out only the louder how he must spread the Good News of salvation through Jesus the Nazorean. Peter raised a woman from the dead…
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.”
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.
…and in today’s readings, he really stirs it up with his fellow apostles. The apostles, on hearing word that Peter had entered the house of the unclean, challenged him on having eaten with them. Now I can only imagine that Peter ate – for the first time grant you, roast pork. Being the faithful Jew that he was, pork was an “unclean” meat and to this day is a forbidden food by the Jewish faith. Ah, but this may be one of the best lines in all of the bible – one of my favorites anyway. Peter tells them while praying he fell into a trance and…
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
What God has made clean, you are not to call profane…Sugarfire Grill was opened two weeks later. Can you imagine, after centuries of living a “clean” life, how strange it must be for the Apostles to now be able to eat crab, lobster, pork chops – pork steaks. How awesome is our God? I don’t mean to pull you from the true meaning of today’s readings but that is how my mind works. And as the Lord is my Shepherd, I follow where He leads me. Is that pushing it?
Today’s Psalm reminds me of the version we use on Holy Saturday – like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you my God…athirst is my soul for God, the living God, when shall I go and behold the face of God.
Now that we’ve finished with the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, we still have a few weeks before we celebrate Pentecost, so over the next couple of weeks leading up to that we can learn more about the 12 fruits of these gifts. More to follow.
God’s will, not mine be done.
Be not afraid.
Jesus, I trust in You.