Lesson 13: August 27, 2017
Called to Be Inclusive: Acts 10:19-33
Teaching Strategy: Use the story of Peter’s encounter with Cornelius – and God’s call to include Gentiles – to discuss what it would mean for today’s church to become more inclusive. Invite participants to consider as specifically as possible who is left out of their community, even unintentionally. Sing one of the many hymns that affirm the inclusive community God intends (see examples below).
This week’s lesson from Acts 10 is one of several passages in the New Testament which describe how God revealed to the early Christians that they were called to share the gospel with Gentiles as well as their fellow Jews. Just as Jesus had reached out to speak and heal those who were considered unclean, so too the disciples were called to extend the reach of the church community. In the key verse (v. 28b), Peter says, “God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”
The events in Charlottesville and responses to them remind us of the timeliness of this message. All people are made in the image of God, loved by God, and neighbors whom we are called to love. The dehumanization of others evident in the racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism that was publicly displayed in Charlottesville stands in stark contrast to the gospel message. Across the country the call has gone out to all Christians to denounce the “alt-right” groups that fight (with words and sometimes with weapons) for white supremacy. Time must not lessen the urgency of speaking out against racism and acting on behalf of all those against whom it is directed. Likewise, the fact that public expressions of hatred and bigotry may be reduced because of such criticism must not deter believers from acting to address the more subtle forms of racism experienced daily by far too many of God’s children.
- #Charlottesville, the Christian Response, and Your Church’s Call
- Religious Leaders React to the Violence in Charlottesville
- NAE Condemns White Supremacy
- How Will the Church Reckon with Charlottesville?
- A Statement from Christian Ethicists Without Borders On White Supremacy and Racism
Hymns, new and old:
- Many Gifts, One Spirit (lyrics)
- In Christ There is No East or West
- For the Healing of the Nations
- Jesus Loves the Little Children
Summer 2017 Theme: God’s Urgent Call
Unifying Principle: Traditions and cultural understandings often shape our view of the world and others in ways that limit our interactions. How do we overcome the limitations of such understandings? Through a vision and the Spirit, Peter learned how and why to witness to Cornelius and his household.Posted on: August 21, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing