"God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean."
Reading for The Daily Office, Thursday, Proper 16
In Peter's conversation with Cornelius he provides another clear definition of what it means to be a believer, a follower of Jesus. As his followers, Jesus tells us over and over, and in many ways, that to follow him we must love ourselves, neighbors and enemies all.
It is not our place, nor in our capacity, to refuse God's fellowship to anyone. Peter's words also echo the psalmist who wrote, "The Lord is loving to everyone, his compassion covers all his works." The psalmist didn't write "The Lord loves everyone", but "The Lord is loving everyone", which means God is acting in the present tense, that is right now, for everyone, all his works.
As surely as the sun shines and the rain falls on us all, in our each unique lives as righteousness, and at times unrighteous persons, so does God's love shine and pour on us all.
There is no one whom the Lord doesn't love, not one of us who is not covered in God's loving compassion. God is the source of all being, born out of the expediency of God's own love, therefore God is the source of all love, which means it is not our's to withhold or to expend, but only ours to refuse or to share. This means it is impossible to withhold God's love from anyone as God simply loves according to God's own nature and purpose, as God's love "is constancy and peace".
Can I stop the sun from setting or the moon from rising, how can I stop these elemental forces of nature from ceasing? Then how can I reasonably expect to stop love, the elemental nature of the cosmos? How can I say to love, the first cause of being found in the Spirit of the love of the Father and Son, you cannot be?
If I should attempt to withhold God's love from another, by judgement or threat, I invite disaster and suffering upon myself and those I associate with, as there is no greater disaster than to withdraw from love, the disaster which can cascade into great suffering of my own and into sufferings I may then cause others in my loveless carelessness: I risk myself to evil and its agencies, I begin to take myself from God and into the first steps of suffering's hell of my own making.
And for what, to seek to withhold the power of the cosmos from taking its natural course? I might as well tell the sun to quit shining.
If I want to do more than survive, I need more than food and water. If I want to live abundantly, that is with health, fullness, happiness, satisfaction and peace, then I must do so by loving more abundantly. This is the call of Jesus; to live more abundantly in love, and to live more abundantly in love is to be more vulnerable to love, which is loving all those requiring love in their poverty of mind, body and spirit; in their diseases of mind, body and spirit; in the lonely abandonment of their mind, body and spirit.
Peter knew this. We in Christ know this. We know this in the breaking of the bread and in the passing of the cup. We know this in the compassionate eyes of Jesus which see all humanity as the same. We know this in the vulnerable body of Jesus: broken to feed us, everyone, all the same. We know this in the vulnerable Jesus whose blood was willingly poured out to save us everyone, all from ourselves, and to heal us all, everyone.
Everyone is loved in God's compassion, and in Jesus to whom no one is profane or unclean.