Wednesday, 20th week after Pentecost

Text: Acts 21:15-26

Prayer Pointers:

For our elder siblings, the Children of Israel

For an end to anti-Semitism

AS WE HAVE SEEN over these last weeks, the message about Jesus causes tension and ruptures in the religious, economic and social worlds of people. To say “Jesus is Lord” is a political statement, a philosophical statement and a very personal statement. The conflict in the Roman world unleashed by the movement of the Holy Spirit would take several centuries to resolve. But the pain of that break is felt nowhere more strongly than between Jews and Christians, God’s People separated over the significance of Jesus.

We see in this story how the tension and conflict over Jesus erupted in Jerusalem. From the beginning, the Church and its leaders wrestled with the implications of God’s inclusion of Gentiles among the faithful. What does this inclusion mean for Jews? What of the Mosaic Law? What role does the Temple play? The leaders of the Jerusalem Christians—sort of the “central church” of the Jesus Movement—tried to bridge the gap with their letter (Acts 15) to Gentile converts regarding the right approach to foods, to idols, and to sexual activity. When Paul arrives, the leaders are concerned that his presence will inflame the anger of Jewish pilgrims who have come to the city. Their request that he purify himself according to Jewish law is meant to be an olive branch is meant to be a sign that Paul has not abandoned the religious life of Judaism, and, true to his desire to appeal to all, (1 Cor 9:21-22), Paul agrees.

In our own day, let us be glad that God has graciously grafted us onto the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and seek good for our Jewish friends and neighbors, the first to receive God’s promise of mercy, and let our prayers be for the healing of the break among us.

May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks

---Detail, mosaic of Paul of Tarsus


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Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

824 N. Buchanan Blvd. 

Durham, NC 27701

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824 North Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701 | 919-682-6030  |

Mission Statement: We are called to Welcome Everyone to Walk the Way of GRACE, and walk in that way in our individual lives, in our shared life in our various communities, in our common life with our neighbors, and even to the world at large as God sends us. The Way of Grace is to: GROW with Jesus, REJOICE in God, ANSWER with hope, CARE for the neighbor, and EMBRACE community.

Vision Statement: God has a plan FOR OUR LIVES, and so we teach how to walk in the path of Jesus Christ; FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, and so we work to build healthy and strong communities; FOR OUR CITY, and so we share life with our neighbors in Walltown, Trinity Park, Duke, and the Triangle; and FOR OUR WORLD, and so we go with Good News.

Core Values: Because God loves us first, we value worship rooted in Scripture and Sacraments, service to all people, and being a welcoming community that loves and forgives one another.