Advent 2, Tuesday, Year B

Inspired by Acts 11:1-18

“If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” Acts 11:17 (NRSV)

We try to be good Christians. We try to live good Christian lives, and not be a hindrance to a potential believer by living contrary to how we believe God wants us to live. And we try to help our sisters and brothers in Christ to also live according to God’s will.

But can we know for certain what is acceptable to God and what is not? Do we really have the authority to proclaim that God’s grace is unavailable to a person or a group of people who engage in a behavior we’ve always believed to be forbidden?

Everything Peter knew to be true regarding what and who was acceptable to God was being violated, yet Peter recognized that this violation of his dearly-held ‘truths’ was in fact God breaking out of the narrow confines that had once defined God’s mission. Peter had the wisdom to realize that holding on to his own beliefs about God would hinder God’s work, and he had the humility to accept that God’s work was more important than what he thought he knew to be true.

With Peter’s example, can we really claim any authority about who is eligible for God’s grace, or what behaviors must be changed before God’s grace might be given? And aren’t we blessed that no such restrictions stand between God’s grace and our own sinfulness?

Let us pray. Lord of all, your love is beyond measure, and your grace is freely given. Grant us the humility and the wisdom to value your will above our own beliefs, that we may not hinder you in your mission. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.