July 23, 2014
Consider Breaking the Law ~ Christina Villa
He heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times…While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” From Acts 10:9-23a
Peter is hungry. He has a vision and hears God tell him what to do: “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” Wait a minute Peter says, I’m not going to just kill any old thing and eat it! That’s against the rules, and apparently even having God tell him it’s OK – not once, not twice, but three times – isn’t enough for Peter. He’s still “greatly puzzled” by what he’s heard. What could it mean? What should he do about it? He’s still thinking about it later, when the Spirt, sounding exasperated, has a job for him to do, but has to prod him into action: “Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation for I have sent them.”
Sometimes we get so used to following rules that our obedience to them gets in the way of our obedience to God. Sometimes we follow rules in order to avoid challenge or risk. In the process of staying safe, and perhaps congratulating ourselves for being good rule-followers, we never do anything that might be considered divinely inspired – or even very important to us. In this scripture, Peter actually refused to do what God tells him to do – he tells God, “By no means, Lord” – because he’s let the rule become his god. But God is changing the rules here, as if to illustrate the old saying that rules are made to be broken.
What “rules” are you busy following while the Spirit is repeatedly trying to make you “get up” and do something else, something you were meant to do, something God has in mind for you?
PRAYER: Thank you for never giving up on trying to get my attention. Amen.
Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 218.