From the chair:
“10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 14 But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. “
What God has made clean, do not call uncommon. With so much on offer, it’s hard to know what to accept. It’s hard to know what to take in and what to push back. On the one hand, the New Testament talks about new things, surprising things, startling things, like Cornelius the Gentile being welcomed into the people of God through Jesus Christ. On the other, it talks about rejecting false teaching (and false teachers!) and “the things of this world.”
It takes discernment, wisdom, to know when to receive and when to reject. I don’t pretend to have an equation that makes it any easier to decide. Yet, I know why I would do one or there other: I will not shut myself off, because what God has made clean, I hope not to call common. I will not forget good judgment, because God is the one who must redeem.
From the desk:
“Are you preaching because you have something to say or are you preaching because you have to say something?”
-Dr. Cleophus LaRue, in class, this morning
This is a powerful question that we should ask more often, not only at the start of a life, but also in the preparation of each sermon. Have I really waited on the Word, waited for the Holy Spirit? Have I really noticed, attended to, cared about, fostered an urgency for the people who will lend me their attention? Do I have something to say? If not, then it’s time to pray and read and meditate and study and think and write and talk, because God is not silent, and the world is not getting along fine without him.