God has given the church vision of a New Jerusalem, a shining city set on a hill, a light for all people. The Bible sets forth a primary theme, that of believing God, and believing in Him.
To this end, God gives vision to many prophets, teachers, preachers and seers.
Many of us today have little regard for vision. We question it and those who have it. We even question ourselves when God bestows vision upon us. We ignore vision, especially in the form of dreams and revelations.
In Acts 10:2-4, we read about the vision of Cornelius, an Italian Centurion. Scripture says, “He and his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”
An angel said to Cornelius, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send to Joppa and bring back a man named Simon Peter.”
The next day, as Peter is sought out by the messenger, Peter had a matching vision. Acts 10:11-15 describes Peter’s vision “Of a sheet let down to earth with all kinds of animals on it.
God tells him to rise, slay and eat.”
Peter replies, ‘No, Lord I have never eaten anything unclean.’ The angel admonishes him, do not call anything God has made unclean.”
Peter’s vision instructs that he should not look upon the Gentiles as an inferior or unclean people. Peter would have considered the Roman officer, a Gentile, as unclean and unable to have heard a message from God. Peter comes to understand that he must go with the messenger to Cornelius’ community to proclaim the Good News of salvation to be found in Jesus Christ. Peter’s vision was for all people!
Last week, we discussed “Promised Land Theology.” This theology moves many disenfranchised African Americans beyond Liberation Theology.
“Promised Land Theology” is based upon the belief that God will, as He has promised to do, take us through a personal wilderness of tests and struggle and into our own promised land flowing with milk and honey.
Dr. Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, has identified a new breed of African Americans who, “With no fear of limits, are ready to collaborate and do business with all people,” and who will act against you only if absolutely necessary.
Irvin calls these people “Thrivals.” They are of all ages, Irvin maintains, and are “An emerging cohort of African Americans who are forward thinkers, characterized by global perspectives and a unique self image.”
Irvin explains, “Previous generations of African Americans’ lives were mostly out of necessity about survival, our past culture of opposition and oppression made the civil rights movement necessary, and it continues to define the self image of many blacks today.”
But history, says Irvin, “Looks very different to ‘Thrivals,’ members of the first post-struggle generation. For them, the black-white split is a vestige of the past, historically valid but simply irrelevant to their present lives.”
God’s call to Abraham said, “And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” Genesis 12:3. Isaiah said that God told him, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” — Isaiah 49:6.
Jewish belief might seem to limit the thought of God’s salvation as being offered only to the Jews. But history tells us that God gave the Law through Moses, to all people, regardless of color. Other groups believe that Gentiles, to be saved, must become Jewish and follow Jewish laws.
We should see the error of these positions. God chose the Jews as ‘a chosen people’ to teach us His universal Laws, to enable us, through Christ’s teaching, to have “A Vision for All People!”
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at email@example.com.