But God builds bridges across cultural and religious barriers

Acts 10:1, 28, 44-45 In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment … Peter told Cornelius and his household, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.” … Even as Peter was speaking about Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.

Colossians 3:11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile … Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

I just finished reading a fascinating book set in 1880s India and England, A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. As I commented in my review of the book on Goodreads, it’s a TCK story, at a time when the challenges of “third culture kids” weren’t as well recognized or understood. Indian and English hostility had hardened, and then-named Eurasians, descendants of both British and Indian parents, were caught in the middle, despised by both groups. Ottilie, the protagonist, is Eurasian, and doesn’t feel fully at home anywhere.

TCKs tend to feel the same way. A friend of Dave’s illustrated her feelings by calling her American heritage blue, her Ecuadoran upbringing yellow, and herself green, a blend of the two, not fully “herself” in either context. As I read A Tapestry of Light, I thought of the way TCKs from all over the world immediately bonded to each other, comfortable in common “greenness.”

Picture Cornelius, a Roman army officer hated by the people whose land his country occupied. And Peter, ingrained from birth with this hatred, with a consuming passion for freedom from Rome. And then God puts them together and by amazing grace on both sides, something brand new is formed, where what matters most is Christ’s deep love for all of them. Read the whole chapter to understand this better.

And I wonder: could Christ’s love be so compelling here, now, that it could lift us out of our divisions and hostilities and mistrust of one another into something new, redemption from our fears and our certainty that “we” are right, and “they” are wrong?

Cornelius and Peter show us such a thing is possible! Remember that old song we sang fifty years ago, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me?” Lord, let it begin with me.

Ha! I found it! Wow, what a flood of adolescent memories are associated with this song for me!

2 thoughts on “But God builds bridges across cultural and religious barriers

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