Once in the waiting room, Zechariah’s prophecy called Israel to the hard work of hope. But hope is more than wishful thinking or passively waiting for the world to change. Hope is the call of God to have faith in his promise, always preparing for the ultimate fulfillment of his promises, while actively partnering with God in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.
The First Easter is the Last Exodus. Let the march begin!
When we recognize our identity as God’s special possession, we begin to sense that there is a better way to live in our world. But formation into this other way does not happen by accident or alone. We long for shepherd-elders who have seen suffering and the resurrection power of God. We need connections with those whose lives exemplify the Jesus-centered life.
Peter writes to the Christians in exile, exhorting them to be sober-minded and alert; not just for self-protection, but to see things as they truly are. In this sermon, we’ll examine God’s invitation (through Peter’s words) to the kind of life that keeps us rooted in our own communities and growing toward the Kingdom of God.
In a world filled with suffering, we’re often tempted to go searching for the cause of such trials and hardships. But Peter’s instruction to the first century church encourages looking beyond reasons for why suffering exists and emphasizes the significance of how we respond to such difficulties in this life. Such a perspective change impacts our witness, our ability to cope with life’s challenges, and influences our understanding of the temporal nature of suffering.
When something happens, like what happened lately, our tendency as exiles is to get so embroiled in the controversy that we forget who we are. Without formally denying our identity – our right to practice our faith – the culture subtly gives us another one. Now more than ever, we must rediscover our narrative, our name and our agenda.
The past few months have been among the most disruptive and uncertain of our lives. We have suffered many losses and from everything we hear, there will be even more. Yet our hope is that in and by these losses we are being perfected and saved for the day when Christ is finally revealed.