This Week at John McMillan Presbyterian Church

In 1967 the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” premiered. The movie starred Spencer Tracey, Katherine Hepburn, Sydney Poitier, and Jennifer Houghton. While the movie was in the comedy/drama genre, it was more provocative than anything else. The story was about a young white woman (Houghton) who gets engaged to a young black physician (Poitier). After the engagement, she brings home her fiancé to meet her parents (Hepburn and Tracey) over dinner. The parents are what we might call “progressive” today, but there is no doubt that their introduction to the groom to be will be a challenge to their liberal leanings. In 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in 12 states. While legal in California, it was not readily accepted even in 60’s San Francisco, the setting for the movie. The reaction of the parents is predictable – polite but horrified. Interracial marriage will be beyond difficult for the couple. They, and their families, will be ostracized and subject to discrimination. Even the black maid feels this way. The groom to be is equally worried and has not yet told his parents, who are also coming to dinner, that he will be marrying a white woman. When his parents arrive for the “meet the parents” dinner, they, too, are politely appalled. Just watching the interaction between the characters of this fictional story can be uncomfortable.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is all about acceptance of something – here an interracial relationship – that has been historically forbidden. Which is the circumstance the Apostle Peter faced when he was sent by God to visit a fellow by the name of Cornelius. This Biblical “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” story ends with Peter’s defense of this meeting to the Apostles in Jerusalem. This Biblical story, too, is one with both comedy and drama. It also has one of the most profound and important messages in the New Testament. Come hear about it on Sunday August 26 at 9:30 when Pastor Jeff preaches “What God has Made Clean” based on Acts 11: 1-18. We will look forward to seeing you!

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