Acts 8:1-25

Racism is a word used to describe bigotry against people, on the basis of their race, colour, or national identity. We've had Pom Jokes, and Irish Jokes, and Arab Jokes. We've probably heard every race in existence as the butt of humour, at some time or other. When we went up to Queensland, to visit my family, we were called Mexicans, and treated as inferior to the fair dinkum Queenslander. In retaliation, those of us in the south, speak of the Northerners as "a bit slow....... life's like that up there, you know". And all of us have a go at the Tasmanians. Samaritans were despised by the Jews, as ‘racial hybrids’; in both race and religion. The hostility between these two had existed for a 1,000 years. Something significant has happened to Philip, to change his mind about the Samaritans. His intention was to preach to these despised and rejected ‘hybrid people’. Philip goes to Samaria, and the people listen eagerly to what he says. The miracles he performed gained their attention, and they listened eagerly. I believe that they recognised that it could only be the real work of God that could break through such racial prejudice, between Jew and Samaritan, and open up the possibility of God's love being available to even them.

In Jesus, the hostilities we have, race against race, should be put to death; and not just our racial hostilities. It is all things that separate us, and make us feel inferior or superior to one another. We are still different. But, because of Jesus, and our relationship with him, instead of our differences continuing hostility, somehow those hostilities are dealt with. This is a very important lesson to learn. That's why the Apostles from Jerusalem come down to Samaria. This is a new thing that is happening. The leaders of the church need to give their stamp of approval to this movement of God. All hostility is done away with in Christ, and what he has done. We are in truth united. We should be a beacon to the rest of the world - a sign of God's acceptance of all who come to him, through Christ. There will no longer be any sense of inferiority, or superiority. Such wholehearted acceptance will have its own attraction to those who are marginalised, by race, colour, gender, or disability of any kind. Who is your life needs to hear this amazing good news?

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