More – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Acts 15:7-21

The Acts of the Apostles is full of radical change, divinely inspired and enabled. Sent by the Spirit, Philip goes to the excluded Ethiopian eunuch, explains the scripture and baptizes him.[i] Saul, notorious persecutor of the church, meets Jesus and radically changes into Paul, famous evangelist.[ii] The Spirit sends Peter to the centurion Cornelius. Though unlawful to visit let alone eat with Gentiles, Peter does both, proclaims the gospel and the household follows Jesus.[iii]

The Spirit reaches further and further. Gentiles receive the Spirit in the same way as the Jews. It is an unsettling time for the Jewish followers of Jesus. They hotly debate inclusion of outsiders. Leaders gather in Jerusalem to respond to this crisis. James, Jesus’ brother, leads the gathering to affirm huge change, to welcome Gentiles, all people, as equal followers of Jesus. James discerns that the present crisis fits the grand narrative promise: all people may seek God.

Doing so fits with Jesus welcoming all kinds people outcast: women, foreigners, the sick, and children. Many people cling to labels like Gentile and sinner, but not Jesus. Jesus loves everyone no matter what. Jesus invites everyone into more. Jesus changes and keeps becoming more.

When Jesus went to teach in his home town, people asked: Where did he get all this wisdom? Can this really be the child we knew?[iv] They clung to sticky memories though Jesus had grown up and changed. Jesus knows what it feels like to be dismissed and rejected.

Who is difficult for you to accept? To acknowledge that they have changed and that they can change further? Perhaps a neighbor or colleague or family member.

What has changed or is changing in yourself that’s hard to accept?

By God’s invitation and grace, who are you becoming?

Such change may present a crisis, might be confusing or painful. Like James, listen for God amid it all. Listen for what is just and divine, not simply sticky. Following Jesus means ongoing radical change which God invites and enables, extending further, embracing wider, each and together becoming more.                                       

[i]Acts 8:26-39

[ii]Acts 9

[iii]Acts 10

[iv]Matthew 13:54-56

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  1. Randy LaRosa on February 1, 2024 at 10:26

    Dear brother Luke,
    Thank you so very much for this wonderful teaching.

  2. David Watkins on February 4, 2021 at 11:12

    Thank you Brother Luke for this message. It is comforting to be reminded that in the midst of change, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are with us, prompting, guiding and supporting.
    Thanks be to God.

  3. Jeanne DeFazio on May 18, 2019 at 10:29

    Thanks for such a thought provoking message

  4. Annette Foisie OSL on May 18, 2019 at 09:37

    May God bless you, Br. Luke, for this teaching. It reminds me of the liturgy of Good Friday, where we repeat Psalm 51:11, saying: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. In this prayer we invite change and transformation. Some years ago, longing for this, I wrote this prayer, which I now say every day: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, unto You I relinquish my life,– body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit. May it be unto me according to Your will. I ask only that You lead me in paths of service. Amen.

  5. Diane on May 18, 2019 at 08:56

    Amen, Amen!
    My favorite writer in the new testment is Paul who predates all the other new testament writers by decades. I picked up a book which traces all the travels of Paul. And of course those travels by ship and on foot are amazing for that time. Dangerous in many ways, facing persecution and rejection every step of the way. Wow.

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