Archive for February, 2016

Verses 14-15: “But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.””

The following is an excerpt from the 25th anniversary episode of BBC’s Doctor Who, entitled “The Five Doctors”:

The First Doctor and Tegan had entered Rassilon’s Dark Tower, at the heart of which was his tomb. The Doctor, along with later regenerations of himself, past and current companions, and past enemies, was forced to play the Game of Rassilon, the greatest of the Time Lords of Gallifrey. Standing just inside the entrance was a checkerboard-painted floor. Realizing it might be a trap, the Doctor held Tegan back while he pitched coins onto each row. Tegan, the Earth-born stewardess, was impatient, but the Doctor was insistent. About halfway across with the coins, the trap was sprung. Electrical bolts showered down upon the checkerboard floor!

Doctor: “Diabolical ingenuity! Nothing happens until you reach the fifth row, halfway,…and then the entire board becomes a death-trap!”
(The Master, the Doctor’s arch-enemy in later regenerations, appears behind them)
Master: “Our ancestors had such a wonderful sense of humor.”
Doctor: (not recognizing the Master, since he not encountered him in this incarnation) “Do I know you, young man?”
Master: “Believe it or not, we were at the Academy together.”
Tegan: (knowing who the Master was) “What do YOU want?”
Master: “To help.” (Ironically, he had been really sent by the High Council of Gallifrey to rescue the Doctor)
Tegan: (sarcastically) “That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.”
Master: “Believe what you like; I should advise you to hide. I’ve got some very suspicious allies close behind me.” (At this point, a squad of Cybermen slowly enter the hall. Tegan pulls the First Doctor behind a wall.)

The Cybermen had captured the Master, and he deceptively offered to be their guide. He demonstrates how to cross the checkerboard safely, much to the surprise of the Doctor and Tegan. Even after most of the Cyber-patrol was struck down by the lightning, the Master reassures the Cyber-Leader that the safe path still exists, it just changes every time. The Master treacherously shoots the Cyber-Leader as they are crossing the board; chuckling, he crosses back to the Doctor and Tegan.

Tegan: “Wasn’t that a little ruthless, even for you?”
Master: “In one of the many wars on your miserable little planet, they used to drive sheep across mine fields…principle’s the same.”
Tegan: “Not quite…this mine field is still just as dangerous!”
Master: “Do you think so?” (The Master then hops and skips differently across the board to the other side). “Try it Doctor, it’s as easy as pie!”
(the Master disappears down the opposite corridor.)
Doctor: “What an extraordinary fellow. As easy as pie? As easy as pie??”
Tegan: “That’s what he said.”
Doctor: “No, he didn’t! He said ‘easy as PI’, the Greek letter Pi!”

The Doctor went on to explain that by using the mathematical formula for Pi, you could figure out the safe way to cross, which he did, and then led Tegan across as well.

That took a while to detail to you, but I wanted to explain the background of this scene from one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, so that I could point out that, although the Master was taunting the Doctor by saying “easy as pie”, he also, accidentally or on purpose, gave him a clue to the solution. So, “easy as pie” had two meanings.

Peter was on the rooftop of Simon the tanner’s house, praying and being hungry, too. Suddenly a vision appeared to him of a great blanket of all sorts of animals in it, being lowered to him, and the Holy Spirit instructing him to kill and to eat. Peter, still reacting with his Jewish upbringing, said he shouldn’t eat unclean animals. The Holy Spirit continues to tell him that what God has declared clean is clean indeed.

I once heard someone joke (and I wish I could recall who!), “And God made barbeque, and said it is good!” 🙂 God told Peter that the animals were clean to eat. But the double meaning, just like “easy as pie”, comes when Cornelius’s visitors arrive, and Peter realizes that God also meant that salvation was no longer just for the Jews! He realized it and preached it…as easy as pie.

More to come.


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Verses 3-5: “About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.””

In the 1998 movie rendition of Godzilla, there is a scene in Golfo de San Miguel, Panama, where Nuclear Regulatory Commission biologist Dr. Nick Tatopoulos is asking Col. Hicks why he was brought there. He states that although he is a biologist with the NRC, his specialty is not nuclear accidents (which he believes the colonel has brought him there to study). They are walking across a field and down into a hole. The camera angle is tight on the two men and their conversation.

Nick: “That’s what I’m trying to say, I’m a biologist. I take radioactive samples and I study them.”
Hicks: “That’s great. Here’s your sample…study it.”
Nick: “What sample?”
Hicks: “You’re standing in it.” (Hicks climbs out of the hole via a ladder)
Nick: “I don’t see it….”(camera begins to pull back) “where is it? I don’t see it…”(camera pans out to show Nick is standing in Godzilla’s footprint…and then Nick realizes it with opened-mouth astonishment)
Nick: (chasing after Colonel Hicks, who has walked toward a tent) “Colonel! Colonel! That was a footprint! I was standing inside of a footprint!”
Hicks: (seriously, but in a matter-of-fact voice) “That’s right.”
Nick: “But there’s no animal in the world that makes footprints like that…is there?”

Cornelius was a centurion who feared God, gave alms to people generously, and prayed to God. An angel of God appeared to Cornelius, telling him that God had been honored by his prayers and giving. The angel instructs Cornelius to send men to Joppa to bring back Simon Peter. Cornelius, like Dr. Nick Tatopoulos above, is about to soon see the big picture. He doesn’t realize it yet, but he knows that when God speaks, you better listen and do what He says. What’s neat in this chapter is to see how God brought Cornelius and Peter together for a very special conversation. More of this big picture to come!

Something to think about.

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