About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals as well as reptiles and birds. (Acts 10:9-12)
A daughter always needs the comfort of her mother. I’m fortunate to have my mother’s prayer shawl. It connects me to Mom and God when I pray. Tallit is the Hebrew name for a prayer shawl which has fringes attached to each of its four corners. Just as Christians often kneel when we talk to God about important matters in our lives, Jewish people often wear a prayer shawl over their heads.
Tallit also means sheet. In Peter’s trance, a sheet, or more likely a prayer shawl held by its fringes to make a vessel for holding clean and unclean animals, was let down from heaven to earth. A prayer shawl represents our connection to God and others through prayer, and the clean and unclean animals represent Peter’s view of people, his prejudice.
God tells us through Peter’s dream that no one he created is unclean, not even the homeless man who has no place to shower. We are all God’s children, brothers and sisters; black and white; Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, and Christian; rich, middle class, and poor; and LBGTQ and straight. We are to live peacefully together and help each other under God’s protection.
Father God, I praise You because You created all people equally. Help the world discover that no one is unclean, just unfortunate. Give me someone to help this week because I want to change the world one person at a time. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.