Today's Lectionary Text
1 Peter 1:1-12
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:
May grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!
One thing that we Christians do not engage in with enthusiasm is human suffering. Often, when we experience times of trials we want to find someone to blame for the unfortunate circumstances that happen to us. In Peter’s story, which is filled with several instances of hardships, we are invited to revisit our theology of suffering. Peter experienced persecution firsthand through imprisonment and constant intimidation at the hands of the authorities of his day. One of the lessons we learn from his life experience and dealing with trials and tribulations is that through such difficulties, though not caused by God, God is with us. God sustains and refines our faith. Peter writes to God’s people who live as foreigners. This message speaks to us in this time where the concept of “foreigner” has taken a negative connotation. While most of us think of foreigners simply as those who come from other nations, one can also think of foreigners as those experiencing trials and tribulations in their own communities because they have a different body shape, skin color, speak a different language or have a name that is hard for some to pronounce.
How would you describe your moments of trials? Are these trials as a result of human reasons? How do you see God through such challenges? How do you encourage others in their moment of trials while attending to your own life challenges?
-Rev. Kalaba Chali
Mercy and Justice Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, grant us your hope and enough peace to comfort us in our time of trials; but not too much peace lest we forget about the sufferings of our neighbors, especially those different than us. Amen.
-Devotion and prayer inspired by Catch the Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World by Blake Busick and Christie Latona, For sermon outlines and worship helps for the season of Easter, go to www.greatplainsumc.org/catchfire.
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