The Acts of the Apostles gives us a view of the life of the early church. We get to see how well those early Christians received the peace of Christ. Today’s passage shows us that peace was not always clearly evident in the community. There are some Jewish Christians who think that gentiles could not come to Christ without first accepting Judaism, its law, dietary customs, circumcision and purification rituals. What should have been a community characterized by harmony, joy and peace was deeply divided. This is certainly not beyond our experience of the church today.
Because of the dissension and debate they were experiencing they sent representatives to Jerusalem to discuss the question with the apostles and elders. The discussion that happened there is omitted from today’s reading. The outcome though is related. There is agreement to welcome the gentiles without making them Jews, but they took care to adapt this inclusivity so that Jewish sensibilities were not offended beyond repair.
Notice, though, that the church did not surrender to labels (liberals, conservatives, red states, alien, citizen), but concentrated on mutual respect for one another’s ideas and sensibilities and the inclusion of all believers in Christ. Surely there is a lesson here and an example for all of us. (Taken from Celebration)
Last Monday we had our first healing workshop offered by Sr. Esther Fangman. She did an excellent job of helping us to see sexual abuse from the eyes of the victim. It became obvious the damage this can cause in a person’s life.
This coming Monday, May 6th, Sr. Esther will join us again for the final healing workshop. In this workshop Sr. Esther will speak about the conflicting emotions sparked by the sexual abuse crisis in our Church. Attendees will have an opportunity to share their feelings about the church’s management of this crisis and explore ways to consider working towards forgiveness. Even if you missed the first workshop you are welcome to this one. The workshop begins at 6:30 and ends by 8:00 p.m.