This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on May 1, 2016.
The Lectionary continues to push us in the light of Easter, to see the world imaginatively, which is not an easy thing for many in our congregations. We have such confined assumptions and this is true for folks across the theological spectrum, for both the biblical literalist and the biblical cynic. They are children of the same limiting formation.
In chapter 16, we are reminded that the missionary movement is not being shaped primarily by a strategic plan. It’s much more organic where (v.6) the Spirit keeps them from preaching in certain places. We do not get an explanation as to what that (being constrained by the Spirit) is like, and sermons acknowledging this could be helpful for both of followers mentioned above.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on April 24, 2016.
The story of Gentile inclusion into the Church begins at the end of chapter nine where Peter (who is likely preaching a Joppa revival) is put up (as preachers are) in a home… the home of Simon the Tanner. It’s an off-the-cuff, by-the-way kind of aside, but so very significant spiritually because, as they say, “when the student is ready the teacher shows up.”
A close spiritual reading of the text would affirm that Simon the Rock needs Simon the Tanner. There is an experience that the Apostle must have in order to receive the next Word. Each night after his Joppa revival, he is stepping over the visceral line when he steps over the unclean threshold of Simon the Tanner’s home. This experience is preparing him for the next experience and is a part of the synchronicity leading to a vision that leads to… a New Vision. Good spiritual, biblical teaching would affirm that there are prerequisites to visions and Peter gets his prerequisite in Joppa.