Within four houses of me any direction there live Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and Christians, Republicans, Democrats, single, divorced, young and old. Our neighborhood can be a cafeteria tray with square compartments that separate us, or we can go for “stone soup” where a mixture of unlikely ingredients makes for a delightful surprise.
In the first century there were many factions too. Jew, Gentile, Pharisee, Sadducee, Samaritan, Soldiers… We see an example of how God brings some of them together in Acts 10.
Forty miles away in Joppa there is a guy named Peter (a Jew) who God speaks to.
God speaks to them both, but they would not usually associate with each other.
The Lord tells Cornelius to go get Peter.
The Lord tells Peter to go to Cornelius.
But first God spreads out a banquet before Peter and reassures him, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
In other words, Jesus death on the cross was for everyone, not just the Jews who followed a heck of a lot of rules the Gentiles didn’t (Like not eating pork).
When Peter gets to Ceasarea Cornelius has gathered all his relatives and close friends.
Peter begins to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” (Acts 10:34-36)
What does this say to us about our neighbors?
You may have Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and more in your neighborhood. Take a minute and close your eyes. Picture God looking at each of them with great love.
Take a prayer walk around your neighborhood as a family. (Maybe after dinner).
- Pray with thanksgiving.
- Pray for neighbors of different faiths from yours.
- Pray for the neighbors with needs you know.
- Pray for the neighbors you don’t know.
- Pray that your neighbors would see Jesus in you.
Right now we’re in the month of Ramadan. If you’d like to learn how to support your Muslim neighbors and pray for them, here are a couple of resources: