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Sunday Devotion: 1 August 2021, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday Devotions

Transformed people transform people

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: 2 Samuel 11.26 – 12.13a; Psalm 51.1-12; Ephesians 4.1-16; John 6.24-35 [Exodus 16.2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78.22-28]

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 147.1-11; Acts 15.4-12; 2 Samuel 12.13-24; Psalm 78.15-30; Ephesians 4.17-24

“(God) did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15.9)

I used to find it hard to forgive others. As a good kid I hated when the bad ones could ‘get away with murder’ when they said “sorry”. It wasn’t until I myself made a big mistake, repented, and got a taste of what it was like to be forgiven, that I started being less harsh on others.

In today’s passage the Apostle Peter responded to Jewish followers of Jesus who demanded that non-Jewish believers should practise all their laws also. He emphatically reminds the early Christians to remember that God loves everyone, including the Gentiles, not because of how good any of them are, but because of how good God is. God “made a choice” to accept all of us as we are without discrimination.

No one can follow the law perfectly. And, that’s the point of God’s love: while we were still ‘Gentiles’ God loved us first. It is only through Grace that any of us can know and be transformed by God. (v. 11) So when we seek to force upon others, especially those who are considered to be on the outside (such as people seeking asylum, people from the LGBTIQ+ community, First Nations peoples, the list goes on) the way we want them to live, are we not like those in Acts who fall into the trap of thinking that the law is what makes us God’s chosen people?

Lord, help us to be merciful and inclusive. May we extend the same grace shown to us in Christ Jesus to all others, Amen.

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