So we continue our journey with the first Christians through the Acts of the Apostles. Persecution drives them from Jerusalem, but God uses their scattering to share the gospel known in Jesus to other peoples (Acts 8:1-20). Philip preaches amongst the Samaritans, and great joy is known. Peter and John are sent to confirm this new development, and the Holy Spirit descends upon this ‘other’ people and they are included into the Church, the Community of Christ, the beginning of the renewal of the Human Community.
I thought of this work of God, of this divine dynamic of inclusion and community, as I reflected upon a shard of news this week. The campaign of an American presidential candidate sought to attract support with a tweet that used the image of a bowl of differently-coloured candies named Skittles – ‘If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you eat them? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.’ The illustration troubled me greatly. Then a friend shared a response that helped greatly: ‘Are the other skittles human lives? … Is there a good chance I would be saving someone from a war zone and probably their life if I ate a Skittle? … I would eat the Skittles … I would GORGE myself on Skittles … And when I found the poison Skittle and died I would make sure to leave behind a legacy of children and of friends who also ate Skittle after Skittle until there were no more to be eaten. And each person who found the poison Skittle we would weep for. We would weep for their loss, for their sacrifice, and for the fact that they did not let themselves succumb to fear but made the world a better place by eating Skittles …. The real question … is ‘Is my life more important than thousands upon thousands of men, women and terrified children?’ and what kind of monster would think the answer to that question is yes?’ https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10105359509007789&id=838277
Reading this, I am reminded of our Lord laying down his life for the lives of all humanity; I am reminded about the many Christians who have witnessed to life in Christ with sacrifice, even unto death. But today I am also strongly reminded that community has been God’s will since the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, a community that reaches out further and further beyond itself to include all peoples. In the Church Christians learn a lesson about community for life in all its fullness. So may it be.
This Sunday morning, join us in the worship of God if you are in the area … and in the practice of community. There is free parking in the civic lot just behind St. Andrew’s off Queen Street. There is a nursery for infants and children up to and including three years of age. There is a program for all other children during the service if they wish. There is a warm welcome in the name of Christ for all.