Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” ~ Acts 11:1-3
We are just plain tribal people.
We might not wear loincloths and hunt and gather anymore.
But we still tend to know who "our people" are.
It was true of the people in the Hebrew scriptures; true of the early church of Peter; and true today.
Most of the news each day bears that out.
We've got names for our tribes: Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic.
African American. Caucasian American. Asian American. Hispanic American.
Muslim. Hindu. Buddhist.
And we are all part of more than one tribe. We include our family tribe.
Our congregational tribe.
Our school tribe.
Our business tribe.
The thinking permeates almost every part of our culture.
And has done so from day one practically.
The early Jewish Christians were threatened by Peter's inclusion of Gentiles.
Recently, many states are attempting to make laws based on the imagined threat of homosexuality and of transgender issues.
Laws continue to be made that threaten the civil rights of marginalized people.
Daily I realize that by living where I do, I exclude interactions with all manner of folks different from myself.
It's part of my life.
But Peter learned better. He learned from a Lord who constantly reached out beyond his tribe.
Who constantly reached out to the other.
Who saw the other as "us."
Lord, help me daily to see beyond the walls of my own tribe to love the other as myself. Amen.