January 11, 2022
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever walked into a room and had the certainty that you did not belong here? I had the experience in junior high (grade 8) of being at the school skating party. A girl I liked commented that she had to skate as a new song started, so I went out to skate as well. Then I quickly realized that I wasn’t supposed to be there. It was a girl’s only song for skating. That can make a lasting story to build up a young boy’s self-confidence.
But there are places where people not belonging is more clearly stated. Back in the days of segregation and whites only facilities. Not just unwanted, but treated as less than others. The Jewish view of Samaritans was not as much enemy as it was disdain and seeing them as inferior. Yet here we see the church sending prominent leaders to the Samaritans and including them fully. Even more, we see the statement of God that they are included fully. Not lesser or greater, all on the same equal footing. All accepted by grace and all receiving the Holy Spirit.
We are all one in our belonging. We all belong the same. There is no pedestal that some portion belongs on. There is no need of a hierarchy. The church is filled with people who belong. Different languages, different cultures, different incomes, different anything else, but the same grace, the same belonging. We belong. The first thing the Holy Spirit does in us is bring us to the point of belonging. We belong.
Song – Holy Spirit
God of grace and glory, you call us with your voice of flame to be your people, faithful and courageous. As your beloved Son embraced his mission in the waters of baptism, inspire us with the fire of your Spirit to join in his transforming work. We ask this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.