While one of our daughters was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, she was
often accosted for not being married. After some initial embarrassment and fumbling at
how to respond in her adopted culture, she finally came up with a reasonably satisfying
answer. She was not married, she told her neighbors, because her father had set too high a
bride price and no one was able to pay it!
In one of our lectionary readings today a high bride price is at the heart of the story.
Whoever wished to gain the property of Elimelech and restore it to his widow, Naomi,
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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.