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06 January 2005 @ 05:33 pm
For my Jewish, pagan, and otherwise not-Christian friends  
For the first time, I understand how it works. I get it! I'm truly excited!



34Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

This sermon by Pastor Dan explains the background of this text, and what it means to all of us, not just Christians. I won't reproduce it all here, but I encourage everyone to read the full text.

Some excerpts:

Don't miss the importance of what Peter's just said here. God shows no partiality; anyone who has faith and lives an upright life is acceptable to him. End of story.

[...]

What Peter learns in this passage is that God's grace does not flow only within the social boundaries we have constructed. It falls upon whom it pleases, and the faithful are not to say no to that grace, for Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

[...]

God calls us and empowers us in our baptisms to tell the world around us that no matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, God will show no partiality, but will find acceptable in every group anyone who has faith in him and does what is right: to love the Lord your God, and to love your neighbor as yourself.


What do I understand now?

Belief in dogma is not necessary. Belief in Christ as God's son is not necessary. Belief in a male God of the Bible is not necessary. To come to God, you must believe in God as you understand God, whether that is a male principle, a female principle, a combination of the two, or something else I haven't thought of. Hell, belief in the power of humankind to better itself-- who's to say that power isn't God? God is so great, so far beyond human understanding, it's a sin to believe you know all about God. No person can, and to believe you can is sheer arrogance. I never could quite reconcile my belief in the biblical God with others' beliefs in other forms of God. Now I can. Now I get it.

And you must love your neighbor-- and take action to care for your neighbor-- as much as you care for yourself. People who do that are the children of God, and God will not turn away from them, no matter what religion, if any, they espouse.
 
 
 
Mary Lewys: Punk Angelmlewys on January 6th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
*grins* Divine Spark.

You really must read, Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. I think he explains it ever so well through fiction.
Fenriss: ghostfenriss on January 7th, 2005 08:05 am (UTC)
Wow. This is big, sweetie. I want to talk to you about this. See, the thing that most makes tears sting at my eyes, and makes me feel closest to Truth is the universality of the personal experience of Divinity. There's something HUGE there that I can't really get my head around. But you seem to be on to it.