Pause

My grace is enough for you.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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Listen

The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word. When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. They accused him, “You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!”

Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened. “I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me. As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals—including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds. I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!’ I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.’ This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven."

Acts 11:1-10

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Think

Have you ever tried sitting at a different table in the cafeteria? Everyone typically finds their table within the first week or two of school, and those tables are set for the year, or even for years. The soccer players sit in one place, the cheerleaders in another, the band kids in another. We all take comfort in belonging to a group and knowing where we are going to sit. Sitting at a different table (or pew in church) upsets the status quo.

Peter crossed the line and ate with Gentiles, and when he returns to tell his friends who are Jewish, they are upset. Doesn’t he know that’s a sin? Peter patiently explains that he did not make the choice on his own, but God gave him a dream – a vision of all people sitting together at the same table.

Where might God be inviting you to sit today? What would it cost for you to sit at a different table, or say hello to someone you don’t know, or invite someone to your table who might be alone or struggling?

Susan Sytsma Bratt

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Pray

Dear Jesus, you broke the barriers when you sat at the table with all people – with traitors, prostitutes, and losers. Give me the courage to sit at different tables or to welcome others to our tables. Amen.

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Go

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

Anne Lamott

Susan Sytsma Bratt

Susan Sytsma Bratt is the Associate Pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. She drinks way too much coffee and loves exploring with her husband and their toddler, Emma.

I Am… - Spreading Branches

Ken Medema - kenmedema.com

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