MicrophoneThis past Sunday we celebrated the baptism of the Lord where we recognize John’s baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river where the dove descended upon Jesus and we heard the voice of God tell us that this was God’s son and that God was well pleased with him and that we should also listen to him. One of our scripture passages from this past Sunday came from Acts chapter 8, verses 14-17 where we hear of another group that was baptized. Let me share those words with you today.

“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Many of us might remember the story of the good Samaritan, the Samaritan woman at the well, and maybe even the thought from the people in Jesus’ time that Samaria was not a good place to be. The people there were not to be liked. They were not to be invited in, or to even have a relationship with. But Jesus taught something completely different. He taught that we should love all people, and that included the people in Samaria. It didn’t matter who they were or where they lived, they too were god’s children, so who were they to judge them or worse yet, hate them?

The apostles hear that Samaria has received the word of God, they have heard someone share the witness of Christ and they are being changed, transformed. They begin a new life in Christ. So, Peter and John travel to Samaria to pray for these new believers. They want to support them in every way they can. It didn’t matter who they were or where they lived, they were baptized and therefore, they were family.

When you look around you, what do you see? Do you see all the differences in people? Do you see democrats and republicans, educated and uneducated, different shades of color, gay or straight? Do you see those with money or those without? Do you see popular or unpopular? Or do you see something different? Do you see people the way God sees them?

God views each of us the same way. We are God’s children and he loves us all just the same. God wants us to do the right things, but doesn’t love us any less when we mess up. More than that, God calls us to love each other the same way. We are given the two great commands to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and then we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

This can look like our story today from Acts as Peter and John travel to a place that used to be forbidden for the Jewish people, but God has welcomed them into the family and so, Peter and John go and welcome them by showing support for them and praying for them. What if we did the same? What if, instead of judging others for who they are, where t

hey live, how much they have, what they look like, or anything else, we just loved them and supported them? What if we prayed for them?

Can you imagine the change in this world if we would follow this simple, but profound command to love? I encourage you to do just that. I want to challenge you to pray for those whom you would normally find yourself judging or condemning. See what happens in your life. I think you might be surprised at the changes that happen within yourself as you share these moments with your creator. Allow God to transform your heart, and remember that you are a child of God.

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