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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022
  • Acts 11:1-18

  • Psalm 148

  • Revelation 21:1-6

  • John 13:31-35

This week’s Acts reading is always a bit frustrating to me as a vegetarian. Contextually and theologically, God’s vision to Peter is not so much about what animals it is acceptable to eat, but more of God giving Peter a divine thumbs up to Peter’s efforts to be in community with Gentiles. However, at face value, the vision gives us a divine warrant to eat whatever we want without thinking too much about how our food was raised and prepared. I instead want God to give Peter a vision telling Peter to be considerate and caring towards our animal friends!

Regardless of my personal views on the consumption of meat, I am skeptical towards any simplistic interpretation of Scripture that gives me permission to turn my brains off and take whatever particular action I want and not worry too much about the bigger social and systemic contexts that I am participating in. The religious life seems to me to require a certain intentionality and ethical care.

Living with intentionality and care on one level means taking stock and appreciating the glory of the world God has made as the Psalmist does. Psalm 148 burns with joy and praise for Creation. However, the Psalm also reminds us that all of Creation and all of us are here to glorify God. “Does it glorify God?” is one way I have seen to frame things when we are uncertain what the right thing to do is. This ethical scale can be used for weighing one’s eating habits or for figuring out what exactly we should say to a loved one who we need to speak hard words to.

Jesus says that when he is glorified, God is glorified. And how does he follow up this proclamation? He tells his disciples they will be known as his followers by loving one another. Regardless of how intentional and careful we are, unless we act in love first, we cannot glorify Christ. Love for others must be our guiding star as we seek to glorify God in Christ. - Ryan Newberry



· Are there beliefs you hold that Scripture is silent about you wish were in the Bible somewhere?

· What do you think of the idea of the religious life as being an intentional one?

· Where do you see God’s glory in the world? Where is it absent?


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