A short reading and prayers for today
Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.
Acts 10:44-45 NLT
This has often been described as the Gentile Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in Jerusalem it was on the occasion of a major Jewish festival.
But Jesus made it clear that the Good News belonged to the world and so it was necessary for it to be firmly established that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon non-Jews.
And that’s exactly what happened here, to the great astonishment of the Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter. Peter, himself, had already learnt that God has no favourites and that the doors had been flung open to non-Jews.
However, there were many Jews who still struggled to believe that God would do such a thing.
The book of Acts tells us how the Good News of Jesus moved from its Jewish beginnings in Jerusalem all the way to the heart of the Roman empire in the mighty city of Rome. It wasn’t a simple or straightforward journey: but ultimately, nothing could stop the progress of the Gospel because it belonged to the whole world.
As we meet people today, I encourage you to remind yourself that the Good News is God’s message of love to everyone that you meet. His desire to pour out his Holy Spirit on everyone. I fear that too often the church has given the impression that the Good News belongs to a small group of people who like going into old buildings and singing old tunes. This is horribly unfair but too often churches have given that impression.
Let’s make sure we live in such a way that we convince people that such a caricature is completely untrue.
What would it look like if God poured out his Spirit on the people you meet today?
Lord God, I open my heart to your Holy Spirit. Give me your wisdom and strength as I live for you today. Amen
Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers.
Open our hearts in compassion and receive these petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world.
Holy One, hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards of the fragile bounty of this earth so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven. Amen.
We praise your abiding guidance, O God, for you sent us Jesus, our Teacher and Messiah, to model for us the way of love for the whole universe. We offer these prayers of love on behalf of ourselves and our neighbours, on behalf of your creation and our fellow creatures.
Loving God, open our ears to hear your word and draw us closer to you, that the whole world may be one with you as you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.