Letting Go, Part 2
The apostles and the elders met together to consider (whether Gentile believers needed to be circumcised). After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” ~ Acts 15:6-11
This is only a portion of a longer discussion on how the apostles and elders met to decide whether new converts who were not Jewish needed to follow the Mosaic law of circumcision.
Paul and Barnabas had led the charge against the notion, and brought it before the full council meeting.
Yeah, so council meetings have been happening since the beginning!
But look who it is who makes the pronouncement against this law! Peter's come a long way, hasn't he?
Paul is rather like the new associate pastor who comes in fresh out of Seminary with some wild and crazy ideas. And Peter is like the senior Pastor (or maybe council President!) who is trying to lead a whole big group of people though confusing waters, while also trying to maintain tradition and some sense of equanimity.
Yet Peter has learned that things can't just stay the same. Laws, even laws that are a hundreds of years old and straight from God's own mouth, can lose relevance.
How many things are our congregations holding on to that aren't relevant anymore? Peter says this by comparing law to a yoke around our neck.
Are there things we are doing, rules we have in place, that are keeping us from opening God's kingdom wider?
Peter was the keeper of the new church's tradition and yet he came around to see that new ways of doing things, as exhibited by Paul, had to happen for growth and life in the church to happen.
The church is meant for life. It is meant for growth and healing and faith.
What do we need to let go of for that to happen?
Lord, open my eyes to new ways of serving and loving you and your church. Amen.