Peter is hanging out with non-Jews. Tribal religion is on the way out after a brief struggle in the early church. God is the creator God of all peoples. With God nobody is out. All are in. It is really a shame that organized religion has reverted to tribalism. Some are in. Others are out. It is that simple especially in patriarchal religion.
Reading this reminds me of a story told by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne in Red Letter Revolution. It seems that St. Peter is a bit confused. He has discovered that there are more people in heaven than appear on his check-in ledger. What is going on? Peter gets his answer. Jesus has been letting people over the wall. Peter is in charge of the main gate. This squares with John 10. Jesus is the good shepherd, Jesus is the gate. The sheep hear his voice. If they hear his voice there is no need for the ecclesiastical seal of approval. Churchy people want to increase border security and control the main gate. No “Strangers” will slip into the kingdom they guard so carefully. Wanna bet?
John 10:10 is one of my favorite scripture quotes. The translation I like best is, “I have come that they might have life and everything they need.” Jesus is all about life. Jesus is all about meeting our needs. We hunger and thirst and Jesus promises to fill the hunger and quench the thirst. Sometimes we wonder when he will fulfill his promise. At other times we know he has fulfilled his promise.
Often we get caught up in the me-and-Jesus thing much like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, “I don’t care if it rains or freezes as long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus.” The me-and-Jesus personal relationship is plastic unless it becomes us-and-Jesus. Jesus is always present in community. We are personally accountable and we are socially responsible. Jesus did more than go apart and commune with Abba. Jesus walked the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea proclaiming the Kin-dom of God. Jesus challenged exclusive organized religion and the values of empire. He was crucified as a common criminal for his efforts to help people have what they need. All are welcome to share in the bounty of God’s table.
Today is Earth Day. It is a day that reminds us that we must care for creation. Bad things happen when we destroy our nest. If we keep burning more and more carbon fuels, our Mother will strike back. Global warming is no joke. It is for real. If we take care of creation, we will have what we need. Creation is the first revelation of the Cosmic Christ made real. The Cosmic Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. The Cosmic Christ will nourish and nurture us. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.