Read Acts 11:1-18
I am a storyteller by nature, and a rambling one at that. My stories get interrupted by other stories. In this passage, when interrogated about his inclusion of those deemed unclean, Peter chooses to tell a story. Peter tells them the whole story, from the beginning to end, to describe why he was suddenly different. We tell stories of our faith because there is no other way to explain the truth of the gospel. The truth of who God is. Peter knew there was no other way to communicate why he was communing with these people previously unaccepted, so he started at the beginning. It was the only way to convey the radical change and all-inclusive love he had been called to in Jesus. He concludes his story with this question, summarizing his entire change of heart in one sentence: “Who am I to stand in the way of God?”
Isn’t that what Advent is all about? It is the start of our Church calendar, the start of this epic chapter in the story of God’s love and salvation. It is when we stop to say, “I can’t quite explain it in one breath, but let me tell you a good story about a God who is so extraordinary as to be born as a human, to invite us into radical newness, new love, that expands beyond our tribes and nations and traditions and rules.” It’s when we lean into the story that we cannot possibly stand in the way of, because it has already happened. How might you choose to awaken yourself and others to the story this Advent?
God of old and new, we know that your story is the most magnificent one of all. Might we experience your story afresh this season, and joyfully share it with others through our hearts and actions of radical love. In your grace and goodness, amen.
Rev. Anna Langholz Chaplain, Carroll University