About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” – Acts 10:9-15
If you visit Maul-Hall around Christmas, you’ll have to try counting the pig paraphernalia. There are all sorts. Flying crystal pigs on the tree, Santa-pigs on the shelf, pigs visiting the manger scene, pigs just being pigs.
It’s not themed, as in “Rebekah and Derek have a pig-themed Christmas;” but at the same time, the little hams are representative of something more than just bacon-related cuteness. Rebekah has always pushed porkers for the Heifer International alternative gift market and – as these things do – the un-collection took on a life of its own. Besides, Rebekah really does harbor genuine affection for her herd of swinelets.
GOD INVITES – PEOPLE EXCLUDE: This morning’s featured Advent adornment (Day-2 in the Advent series that started yesterday) is the pink pig from the tree in the living room, and it makes me think of one of the passages we studied yesterday at WFPC.
My Sunday morning adult ed class, Practical Christianity, is taking a look at the early church. This week, one of our readings covered the story (above) about Peter, Cornelius, and a tablecloth full of non-kosher foods.
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
It’s easy to understand Peter’s confusion. After all, the dietary laws he was asked to violate are right there in the Bible. But God was/is less concerned with prohibitions than with opening up the reach of the covenant, and Peter needed to understand that what was true for a nomadic tribe carving out their identity in the hostile wilderness didn’t necessarily translate, chapter and verse, into First Century Christian mores.
EVERYONE: This is what Advent and then Christmas is all about, and it is what my non-kosher friend, the Christmas Tree pig, is reminding me. Jesus came into this world in order to repair the broken relationship between God and God’s children. Everyone is welcome. The “New Covenant in my blood” that Jesus offers is not dependent upon what we do, it’s simply about accepting what God has done for us.
God was/is less concerned with prohibitions than with opening up the reach of the covenant…
This is good news!
Ham sandwich; BLT; pork-chops; gammon steak; sausage; pork-belly; fat-back; even pickled trotters (good grief). Take your pick. Or go with a 100% kosher diet if that floats your boat. God’s initiative at Christmas absolutely trumps codified rules, religious requirements, and law-based exclusions; they have no bearing on our acceptability to God.
“Do not call anything unclean that God has made clean.” Do we hear this message? Because of Jesus, I am acceptable to God! Because of Jesus, you are acceptable to God. Who are we to call any one of God’s children unclean?
The pig has spoken!
(each day I’ll add the featured image to this gallery)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.