9. The voice spoke from heaven a second time,
‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’
10. This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
Reflection by Darlene Wagner
Some members of Peter’s church are harshly criticizing him for accepting hospitality from a non-Jewish family. In response, Peter recounts a vision he had while meditating (v. 5). The admonition he received from the Spirit-voice was apparently meant for the whole church, not just Peter. “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” is echoed in the writings of Paul:
“Eat anything in the meat market without raising questions of conscience”
(1 Corinthians 10:25)
However, given the circumstances under which Peter received this vision, its message goes beyond the eating of meat. It is a message of including all persons in the Kingdom of Heaven — especially traditionally-excluded people like my transgender family. Inclusiveness is a message modern Christians around the world need to hear again. In my prayers, inclusiveness, open-mindedness, hospitality, and especially grace, are the very essence of Divine Spirit.
Sweet Gentle Lady of the Sea, your grace
so gentle and inclusive lifts me up
on clouds bright silver, blue, and white, from rains
lakes, rivers, seas: All bring your healing touch!