As we journey through the book of Acts, we hear now the story often called ‘the conversion of Cornelius’. It is fascinating and it is challenging – I hope you can join us!
Cornelius is a Roman centurion stationed in Caesarea, who becomes the first non-Jew, the first Gentile, to be welcomed as a Christian, into the fellowship of the Church, and embraced as a brother in Christ. The Church becomes the Church!
After reading and re-reading this story, I have thought it might better that this story be called ‘the conversion of Peter’. Peter has been raised within the covenant people and raised up by Jesus as representative of the ‘rock’ upon whom the Church will be built. On his way to Caesarea Peter receives a dream, with a command from on high to eat food long forbidden to the faithful. He resists eating the ‘gentile’ food to keep himself ‘pure’ as one of God’s chosen people, but finally Peter understands – God has enlarged the boundaries of those to be embraced within the community of the faithful, and now to be numbered among the faith he needed to enlarge his own embrace.
How wonderful to hear and ponder this story on Reformation Sunday, with the great exhortation brought forward over the centuries – the Church ‘reformed … and always reforming’! Not change for the sake of change, but change in accordance with the call of the Holy One. As with Peter, so may it be with Presbyterians.
Join us if you are in the area. The concrete sidewalks have been poured along Clergy Street and are open. Ample and free parking is available along neighbouring streets and in the public lot off Queen Street just behind the church. During the service there is a nursery for infants and children up to and including 3 years of age, and also a programme for older children. Have a look at the order of service and the announcements – I invite you to consider each a personal invitation to grow in Christian faith, community and service. You would be welcome!