28 Weeks Acts Devotion Week 10
WEEK 10 - ACTS 10 - October 15, 2018
Written by Sarah Nichols Lofton, Jurisdictional Conference delegate; co-chair, Leadership Development Ministry Team: Division on Young People's Ministry, UMC
Cornelius; I love that name. The name itself means ‘horn’- bummer, right? I feel like it should mean ‘potential’. After all, our church’s Cornelius embodied the great potential of a new story; of Good News.
My favorite movie is Meet The Robinsons. In it, a 13 year old orphan named Lewis struggles to invent a machine that can scan memories. Lewis wants to see the image of his mother he knows is somewhere in his memory from infancy. I won’t spoil the exciting bulk of the movie (which includes time travel and dinosaur fights- seriously, see this movie), but the ending is just as precious as Disney can make it. Lewis reconciles with his past and is adopted by a couple who we know were always meant to be his family. Upon meeting each other, Lewis’ soon-to-be adoptive dad says with a sweet smile, “You look like a Cornelius.” And Lewis agrees.
Lewis (Cornelius) trusts that his story is changing; that the ‘rules’ that once governed how he saw and interacted with the world are changing. His new family and their love for one another completely transform the new ‘Cornelius’.
I think our Church’s Cornelius is similar. A dedicated, kind man; Cornelius is forever changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the trust he had in Simon Peter.
The Holy Spirit only came upon those who were not baptized twice in the New Testament; once at Pentecost and again in Acts 10. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. The Holy Spirit chose to communicate when we needed to understand one another most AND when God was affirming that the rules were changing. Our lives were changing. Our church was changing.
Like Jesus’ entire ministry, this is a message is that the rules have changed. What God has made clean, we cannot call common. That every person is invited to receive the love of Christ. That our connection to one another through Jesus Christ exceeds our expectations and interpretations of what has come before.
My prayer for our church and for myself in this season of discernment and division is this:
Trust like Cornelius.
Like Peter; Listen until we understand.
And follow the call of the Holy Spirit until we have all found one another again.
Suggested reading schedule
• Monday - Acts 10:1-8
• Tuesday - Acts 10:9-18
• Wednesday - Acts 10:19-23
• Thursday - Acts 10:24-33
• Friday - Acts 10:34-43
• Saturday - Acts 10:44-48
• Sunday - Acts 10
Reflection question: Who has been a Peter in your life? a Cornelius? Are you open to receive a new direction from the Holy Spirit?
Prayer focus: Churches of the Wichitas District (https://www.okumc.org/wichitas), DS Connie Gibson and DA Nathan Skinner