It was inevitable. Every year on my birthday, my grandparents would give me socks. Not fun socks with neat designs or cute animals. Nope. Sweat socks.
I’d smile and say thank you. There would be consequences if I didn’t. But truth be told, I didn’t feel much gratitude. They were socks: a necessity in cold Wisconsin winters and blister prevention from my Fisher Price roller skates. I’d have preferred any number of other gifts – a jump rope, scratch ‘n sniff stickers, slime. But, no, I got socks.
It’s only as I grew older that I realized the socks were as much for my parents as for me. Gift socks gave my parents a financial break and saved them another trip to Shopko. They honored my parents’ good work in keeping me fed, sheltered, and provided for. They showed my grandparents’ love for me and my parents. Our whole family benefited.
In Acts 15, the just-getting-started community of Jesus-followers, the “church,” received a gift from God. It was nothing more and nothing less than a completely open door. God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, gave the church a call to welcome everyone into community in Christ’s name. No exceptions.
Some people weren’t too excited about this gift. They may have smiled and said ‘thank you’ to God, but the thanks were not that heartfelt. They would have preferred any number of other gifts – health, wisdom, maybe even slime. But this gift was not just for them. It was an affirmation that all people are created in the image of God; a call to work for justice and peace among all people; and a declaration that God’s love is for all the earth.
How excited are we now about God’s gift? Are we, here at St. Tim’s, sharing it?
See you Sunday…