Welcome the Weaving Power of God
April 24, 2016
-by Adam Thomas
But a second time the voice answered from heaven, `What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. (Acts 11:9-12a)
It seems like a coincidence: the men coming from Cornelius at the exact moment that Peter’s vision of the animals on the sheet ends. But Peter, being attuned to the power of the Holy Spirit as he is, does not believe in coincidences. Instead, he correctly links his vision of the now-clean animals with the arrival of those unclean Gentiles. Hmm… Something is going on here, Peter realizes. Something new. Something extraordinary. Maybe those Gentiles are just like the animals on the sheet. Maybe they’re clean too. Maybe God yearns for me to welcome them in.
And that’s just what he does, and in that simple act of welcome, Peter changes the course of human history. He then defends his actions to the folks in Jerusalem, recounting the story nearly verbatim. This story must be important; after all, it is told twice, in case we missed it the first time. There are so many vital moments in this tale, but let’s focus on that apparent coincidence.
Though I am not nearly as in tune with the Holy Spirit as Peter was, I too don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe in the weaving power of God. As a preacher, I often receive the gift of writing a sermon for a particular person. I just don’t know who that person is until he or she tells me. “It was like you wrote that sermon for me! That very thing you mentioned just happened. What a coincidence.”
The next time you use the word “coincidence” I want you to replace it with “the weaving power of God.” See how that switch changes how you view your life and God’s movement in and through it.