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Wednesdays with the Saints Evening Prayer
February 6 @ 5:15 PM - 5:45 PM
Wednesdays with the Saints
Evening Prayer Service
Daily prayers are said on a regular schedule at Saint James. On Wednesday evenings, we invite you to explore and celebrate the inspiring lives of the saints at our Evening Prayer service.
This week we give thanks for Cornelius, an officer in the Roman army and the first Gentile, along with his household, converted to Christianity.
In New Testament times, there was a small contingent of Gentiles—known as God-fearers—who were monotheists and knew that the pagan belief in many gods and goddesses typically gave way to adultery, treachery and an immoral lifestyle. While there were a few of these God-fearers who converted to Judaism, most of them did not but were regular attenders at the synagogue and sought to live a moral life. Cornelius was one such monotheist; he gave to those in need and prayed daily.
In the Book of Acts, Luke writes that an angel appeared to Cornelius and told him that his prayers and gifts to the poor had “come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10: 4) The angel then instructed Cornelius to send some of his men to Joppa to bring back Peter.
The next day God appeared to Peter who at the time was on a rooftop praying. He grew hungry, fell into a trance and had a discussion with God about eating according to Jewish tradition. Peter prided himself on never having eaten anything impure or unclean. God spoke to Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15)
Meanwhile Cornelius’s men arrived at Peter’s house and called out for him. Peter was still thinking about the vision when the Spirit told him to go downstairs. “Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” (Acts 10:20)
The next day Peter and some other believers from Joppa set out for Caesarea. When they arrived at the home of Cornelius, there was a large gathering of his family and close friends. Cornelius explained to Peter the vision he had had three days earlier, and Peter now understood the meaning of his encounter with God. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34, 35)
Peter preached to Cornelius, his family and friends. The Holy Spirit fell on them, as on the first Christians at Pentecost, and they began to speak in other tongues. Thus, there was ample evidence to convince Peter and other Jewish Christians that it was the will of God that Gentiles should also be brought into the Church.