When I read today's passage, I was struck by the inclusivity of of God's love. I'm pretty sure I've not witnessed anything like what happened when Peter spoke to the crowd in this reading, but I did witness something similar at CreationFest at the end of last month.
CreationFest is a Christian Woodstock in rural Central Pennsylvania. I explained to one parent whose son went with us that I'm not sure how it all works, but it does. I was referring to the fact that there are about 75,000 people who attend, all camping on a large farm. These people are from every walk of life. They all come to hear to music and the speakers. It's hot and muggy and, for the most part, everyone is unshowered and unkept for 5 days. Yet, like I said, it all works.
Most of the people who attend CreationFest are teenagers. Youth groups from all over the eastern portion of the U.S. and Canada descend on this farm and make it a bustling city for 5 days in June. As you can imagine, there are all kinds of folks there. In the times I have been there, I've never seen a fight. I've never heard profane or ugly talk. I've seen lots of tatoos and body piercings, but no nudity or under-dressed people.
That's astonishing when you think about it. 75,000 people coming together. The only thing in common is a love of the Lord and the music that celebrates that love. I'm reminded of a line from a song that was very popular for weddings in the 80's - "...for whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name there is love." Now I'm pretty sure that all of those 75,000 weren't trying extra hard to get along, although that may have been the case for some. I'm thinking that, like the gathering in today's reading, it just happens. God's love is there. It is palpable. You can feel it.
I want to put myself in those situations more often. It's a wonderful atmosphere and feeling knowing that no matter who I am, what my issues are, or whether or not I smell nice. God is there and He loves us all.