Today's Lectionary Text
1 Peter 2:11-25
Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.
For the sake of the Lord submit to every human institution. Do this whether it means submitting to the emperor as supreme ruler, or to governors as those sent by the emperor. They are sent to punish those doing evil and to praise those doing good. Submit to them because it’s God’s will that by doing good you will silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Do this as God’s slaves, and yet also as free people, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Have respectful fear of God. Honor the emperor.
Household slaves, submit by accepting the authority of your masters with all respect. Do this not only to good and kind masters but also to those who are harsh. Now, it is commendable if, because of one’s understanding of God, someone should endure pain through suffering unjustly. But what praise comes from enduring patiently when you have sinned and are beaten for it? But if you endure steadfastly when you’ve done good and suffer for it, this is commendable before God.
You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps. He committed no sin, nor did he ever speak in ways meant to deceive. When he was insulted, he did not reply with insults. When he suffered, he did not threaten revenge. Instead, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed. Though you were like straying sheep, you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your lives.
As we continue our journey through the book entitled, “Catch Fire in 50 Days”, day 35’s reflection lifts justice and holiness as the themes. According to the author, Sungho Lee, Justice demands a fair share for everybody. Holiness asks sacrifice of my share for others. (p.131). He goes on to say, When we emphasize “justice” we are focusing on legal due process and fair share. When we emphasize “holiness”, however, we are focusing on accountability and sacrifices. (v.131)
Justice and Holiness goes hand-in-hand. Believing that to my core, verse 11b should be a daily discipline for each of us. To live a holy and blameless life requires us to walk a higher and authentic life. It has to become an intentional way of life to avoid the ways of the world. While not all ways are bad, holiness draws us to keep our souls clean. Living a holy life daily, will make the acts of justice become a daily way of life also. A holy life will give us new eyes to see and new ears to hear. Holiness calls us to accountability, to a motivation of caring for others. Justice is a part of that accountability and the result of our motivation. We are all created in the image of God to relate and to live. To live is what is right and just, stemming from a life of holiness.
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Father, create in us a pure and holy heart, to where justice flows from us like an ever-flowing stream. May we be instruments of justice for all people at all times. 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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