Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Word for Wednesday, April 28: Break Time

The weapons inquiry will continue in due course, but I'm indulging myself in a break today. My physics class met earlier this evening for the last time before next week's final exam, and I've once again groped my way across the front of the darkened lecture room, trying to convince the students that yes, they really did see the first two bright rings in the Airy diffraction pattern as the laser illuminates the pinhole on the demonstration table, and I once again did not trip, fall, and break my neck. So, as I say, I feel like taking a break. I shall do so with the first 22 verses of 1st Peter:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: may grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven -- things into which angels long to look.

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon the earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
It seems to me that, having spent the years since my late 20s in the evangelical Protestant church, I've heard a lot of sermons and Sunday-school lessons that encourage me to think patronizingly of Peter as a kind of blustery, simple-minded hothead, who could usually be relied on to overpromise, underperform, and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Well. No doubt, Peter the natural man was a sinner, and fell far short of perfection -- as who does not? But just read his epistles: Peter and the Holy Spirit make a very impressive team.

Consider the passage above. The opening sentence gives a vivid look at the entire Trinity at work -- with both a greeting and a blessing besides. The second paragraph opens with a fairly complete gospel in a single sentence, and it's not even one of those marathon sentences, either. And the third paragraph: packed with sound and practical direction for believers.

Yes, I think we modern folk would be well-advised to stop patronizing our betters, and instead sit down at their feet to listen and learn.

Okay, next week, we're back on weapons detail. Meanwhile, click here for more Words for Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I won't even pretend that I understand what the "two bright rings in the Airy diffraction pattern" are, but just reading about it, I know I'd need a break. As I often tell my husband, (you'll recall that he, also, is an engineer) "My eyes are glazing over, honey." :)

And you're right. Peter usually gets a bad rap. In fact, I recall one particular pastor who would mock him, laughing at all his foibles. Patronizing and annoying.

But just read his epistles: Peter and the Holy Spirit make a very impressive team.

Would that we all would allow ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, but in order for this to happen, we need to acknowledge that we are wrong about something. And most Christians would rather be "right."