Thursday, September 11, 2008

Acts 15:1-11

Change is often hard, isn’t it? Sometimes it is so difficult to let go of the past, even when we desperately want to do so.

That was the case for some of the believers in today’s passage. We are told that they belonged to “the party of the Pharisees”. It seems clear that they have embraced Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but it also seems clear they were having a hard time letting go of beliefs, traditions, and practices from the past that were not in harmony with the “new” thing God was doing—pouring out his Spirit freely upon the Gentiles.

Peter’s line to these folks is telling: Why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?

Hmmm. Is there anything we cling to from our past , either individually or as a church, that might be a burdensome “yoke” keeping people from knowing the goodness of God’s grace? And if so, how do we find the grace ourselves to let it go, to allow the Spirit to change us?

Change is hard. But if we as a people and a church want to live in harmony with God, then change is necessary, isn’t it? The Serenity Prayer says it so very well:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

To that I can only say, “AMEN!”

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