08 Jan Wednesday
The Cornelius Reception in Acts 10 is arguably the most important and significant Baptism story in the New Testament, second only to the dramatic baptism of Jesus himself in River Jorday. This baptism event opens the way for the mission of the church to the Gentiles. Here we have highly unlikely encounter of a Galilean fisherman, Peter, with a Roman Centurion, Cornelius, in very unusual circumstances. This leads to Peter saying, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.”
Yet we humans walk around confused and in sin about racial prejudice, bigotry, and our own overinflated sense of superiority. The U.S. church today is rampant with racial prejudice and the privilege of white people whose millennial and get x, y, z children are far from the church and discipleship.
Baptism calls to our attention that now belong to a very different family indeed, the household of God in which all the peoples are a place at the common table. This element of baptism is rarely mentioned, preoccupied as we are with original sin and the fiery pit of hell towards which we are headed when we live with and nurtured prejudice and racism.
The homiletic theme here his the universality of the church’s mission and the Eucharist and Holy Spirit come for all.