In Acts 10 the Apostle Peter has a fantastic vision. A sheet comes out of the sky and God declare things once thought “unclean” to be clean. Peter as first resists. He reminds God that he is a good Jew that has never partaken of anything unclean. And God speaks clearly. It happens three times.
From that vision and experience with God, Peter correctly takes the message of the gospel, the good news of peace through Jesus, to Gentiles. God-fearing people who most of Peter’s associates would call “unclean.” At the preaching of Jesus the Spirit moves. Just like at Pentecost, the people start speaking in tongues and proclaiming the good news. It is proof that this message was not just for the Jews but that the redemptive plan was unfolding now to bless all nations.
Peter had an sky-ripping, memorable experience with God. God declared in his own voice that the categories which once ruled the day no longer meant anything. All could come. All could believe and be forgiven (and you could eat bacon!) Peter preaches well after this. He even faces the council in Jerusalem and tells them how God is moving among Gentiles. His ministry was fueled by this experience.
Something happens though. In time. In routine. Peter falls back into the old ways of category. Paul tells the Galatian church how he had to correct Peter for siding with the “circumcision” crowd and refusing to eat with Gentiles. It is as if Peter forgot the vision he had. It is as if the voice of God he so clearly heard simply faded into forgotten memory.
This is Peter. The rock. The one Jesus restored after he denied him publicly. The one that would still go on to be a pillar in the foundation of the church. And he forgot.
I don’t have any delusion that I am better equipped to remember than Peter. I am sure even now there are visions and words from God that I have so neglected that I have forgotten them. We need to be reminded of the truths of this good news. That it is for all people. That it is for you. That it is for me. This message of grace, forgiveness and acceptance in Christ.
Let’s not hide behind a fear of becoming bored with this truth that we neglect and forget it. We just aren’t that cool.