Believers have tried on many images for God, from "rock" to "judge" to "builder" to
"ground of being." None speaks to the complete reality of one who is beyond language.
But the most enduring image, and the one Jesus himself used, is that of parent.
Parent works. It reminds us that we didn't create ourselves, that we are free but obligated,
that God loves us beyond measure but not beyond caring, that God sees us clearly and
confers both consequences and forgiveness, that God remains at the table, no matter how
painful it is to be in our presence.
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The bride-to-be was obviously nervous. It was only the rehearsal, but already the pastor could see that tomorrow’s wedding might be in for problems.
“You’re letting it all get to you,” he told her gently, as he pulled her aside. “Just take it one little step at a time. When you get to the door with your father tomorrow afternoon, look only at the aisle ahead of you. You’ve walked it hundreds of times, every Sunday when you come to church. Think only of that.
This story about Peter's mission to the Gentiles continues the account that began in 10:1, and it repeats in greater detail the content of Peter's vision that was already mentioned in 10:9-16. It is a remarkable story, because it treats rather lightly a dispute that was widespread in the New Testament church, the dispute over conditions to be laid upon Gentile converts to the faith.