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A new birth to a living hope

by davesandel on February 28th, 2022

Monday, February 28, 2022                                       (today’s lectionary)

A new birth to a living hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.

This is Peter the ex-fisherman talking, leader of the band of brothers who have not yet named themselves “Christians.” His half-full attitude toward life is on display in the 1st part of 1st Peter with his words words words …

Peter is bursting with joy. His words burst out of him and into us … salvation, rejoice, genuine faith more precious than gold, for praise, glory and honor.

At Sunday School our teacher Greg put two questions on the board (derived from James 4)  for us to discuss at our tables, which were brimming with thoughtful folks: “What is your practice of repentance?” And “How do you pursue holiness?”

Greg confessed his habit of hurrying through repentance, recognizing his sin, confessing it, asking forgiveness, receiving forgiveness and then going on to something else. Done with that. Time to feed the cows. Let’s go pursue holiness, if we can figure out what means.

But lately Greg has been encouraged to “feel the weight” of his sin and practice mourning about his sins and his sinfulness. How does a half-full person (like Peter) do that? Can an optimist feel the weight of his sin without shrugging it off too quickly? On the other hand, if I’m inclined toward introspective depression already, won’t that weight sink me into despair, where I give up altogether?

Peter is bursting with joy. His words burst out of him and into us … salvation, rejoice, genuine faith more precious than gold, for praise, glory and honor.

The second question comes up. How do I pursue holiness? If I’m pursuing holiness, does that mean I am not yet holy? Is there such a thing as getting there? Where am I going as I pursue it?

What is holiness? We are discussing the book of James, and in the next chapter James says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” But who is righteous? Does holy equal righteous?

Only God can make me righteous, and my actions, forgiven and unforgiven, play no part. Holiness is the same. To pursue holiness means to pursue God for God’s sake, not my own. At another table, Michael said he “hangs out with God” in quiet time, usually skipping devices like a bible study or even the bible. He just talks to God, and mostly listens.

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

It was good to be at Grace Covenant Church yesterday. Coffee, worship, preaching into our Corinthian strongholds, conversations, Sunday School with other Empty Nesters … all stretched me and filled my expanding soul with joy.

Jesus looked at them and said, “All things are possible for God.”

And Margaret made a mighty fine lunch to come home to.

 (1 Peter 1, Psalm 111, 2 Corinthians 8, Mark 10)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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One Comment
  1. Mary Kay permalink

    Love that….”leader of the band of brothers”!

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