Advent Meditation: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Psalm 27  •  Isaiah 4:2-6  •  Acts 11:1-18

Who was I that I could hinder God? (Acts 11:17)

In today’s reading from Acts, Peter receives a vision in which he is reminded that human practices are often at odds with God’s divine way. In the vision, God instructs Peter to eat animals considered unclean under Jewish law; when Peter refuses, God replies, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”

Peter then applies this teaching from God to the Jewish-Christian practice of shunning uncircumcised Christian Gentiles. If Christ has welcomed them in baptism, Peter concludes, who are we to deem them unworthy? Who are we to hinder God?

Which makes me wonder: How might I be hindering God with my own personal standards for the acceptance of others — or even myself? How might those standards be blocking the approach of Wisdom?

According to the text, the vision “happened three times” before the message got through. I like this detail; if Peter needed extra practice with a concept, there may be hope for me. It also rings true. The teachings we most need are not usually one-offs. They recur across our lives. They keep showing up until we can receive them.

Repeated teachings are signs not of our failure, though, but of God’s persistence. They are signs that nothing we do can hinder the coming, and coming again, of God.

Soften our hearts, O God, so that we may herald rather than hinder your coming.

Dr. Claire ColomboAssistant Professor of Writing, Theology, and the Arts and Director of the Center for Writing and Creative Expression
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Claire read her meditation and prayer:

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