Once again the rules about what we can and cannot do are changing. For some of us it will feel very similar to the last few months and we need to remember to keep in touch with anyone who is on their own or unwell. Our story this week is also about rules changing and how Jesus wants us to love our neighbours whoever they are.
The story for this week from the Collective Worship Team is about Cornelius and Peter. Listen and watch the drama here or read it from your Bible in Acts, chapter 10. Are there any details in the Bible story that the team decided to miss out? What do you notice in the story that they didn’t?
The story starts with Cornelius, a Roman and the enemy of the Israelites. The Jews would have avoided having anything to do with Romans and would have assumed that all Romans were as bad as the rest. It was against Jewish law to associate or visit with people who were not Jews. However, Cornelius is described as God-fearing and he prayed and saw a vision of an angel. The things that Peter and the other believers assumed were wrong. Cornelius wanted to know more about Jesus and wanted all his family and friends and neighbours to know as well.
What do we assume about other people? Choose some people you know and try to guess what they will say when you ask them these questions. Then ask them and see if you have assumed correctly.
Peter also saw a vision and heard the Holy Spirit speak to him. At first he didn’t understand what the vision meant or why he was being asked to go to the home of a Roman. He listened to what Cornelius had to say and then he understood what it all meant and what God wanted him to do. Peter learned that God loves everyone and that nobody is excluded.
Sometimes things happen to us or around us and we don’t understand why. We need to try to be patient so that God can help us to see how they might be preparing us for something else in the future.
Acts 10, verse 36 says ‘You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all’. This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday when we remember the times when our country was at war. Remembrance Sunday is also about those who have worked to create peace. Peace doesn’t just happen. It needs a willingness to live together and work to overcome difficulties and respect for other people, their opinions and way of life. Usually on Remembrance Sunday, people gather in towns and villages to remember but this year we are being asked to stay away. If you would like to take part in a different way, you could try this activity.
Try to find out about people in our local communities who did not join the armed services – the farmers, the medics, the volunteers who cared for evacuees and others who were far from home. Place your pebbles on your nearest War Memorial, on a grave that is designated a Commonwealth War Grave or on a grave of one of your relatives if it is close by.
Peter realised that “In every country God accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right.”
An active prayer for this week:
Go to your kitchen and find tins and packets of food. Read the labels to find out where the food was grown. Pray for peace and safety for people from each of the countries you find.
What rules would you make to help everyone feel included? What can you do to help if someone feels excluded from a group you belong to?
Alison and Angie