For today’s reflection we turn again to the HRC, an organization with a focus on LGBTQ+ issues. This reflection focuses on a very important part of the Book of Acts:
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism” (10:34).
Peter’s baptism of Cornelius the Centurion and his family may be one of the most beautiful, unexpected and profound moments recorded in scripture. A commander of 100 men, Cornelius is part of the occupying Roman Army – the enemy.
God uses two dreams to communicate the Divine dream of a more united humanity. In one dream, God tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa to find Peter. In Joppa, Peter has a dream-vision while praying. A voice tells Peter to kill and eat unclean animals. Peter answers, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice replies, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”
When the “unclean” visitors from Cornelius arrive at Peter’s house, Peter goes with them, violating a lifetime of religious conditioning and Biblical teaching about clean and profane people. In his teaching to the gathered Gentile assembly, Peter announces that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Peter then tells them the story of Jesus. Suddenly the Gentiles manifest signs of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter cries, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” He welcomes the first Gentiles into the Church.
Today we see the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifest in the lives and loves of our LGBTQIA neighbors, as well as, in the lives of our non-Christians neighbors. St. Paul lists these fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-restraint. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
Against such things – THERE IS NO LAW!
Episcopal Priest, retired