1 Peter 2:1, 2-10
1Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6For it stands in scripture: "See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner," 8and "A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
With some trails and golf courses now accessible, a few shops offering curbside service to complement supermarkets and big boxes that have stayed open, we still need to #StaySafeStayHome and maintain physical distance outside our homes. On-campus, in-person church meetings will wait a while. As Nancy Pelosi observed, science and medicine are among the ways God acts in our favor and provides for our future.
God of refuge, God of resurrection promise—our God who chooses us as your people! As the world continues in lockdown, guide us toward your marvelous light so we can reflect you and brighten our surroundings, so the world will recognize Jesus in us. We ask in the name of Jesus, Amen!
cf: Psalm 31; 1 Peter 2; John 14
1 Peter and 2 Peter – authorship
The pair of letters or epistles 1 Peter and 2 Peter definitely were not written by Peter the Apostle, and most likely the same individual didn't write both. When scholars assess writing, they check out content, context, language (vocabulary, syntax, etc.). Despite many Old Testament quotes and allusions the actual apostle Peter would have known from his studies of scripture, 1 Peter and 2 Peter probably were written to churches formed of mostly gentiles, who wouldn't have been familiar with those texts.
We've discussed how claiming authorship was very different from what it is now; there weren't any copyrights, trademarks, or other legalities to protect a person's creative or inventive output. Using someone else's name was a compliment, and (as Pastor Peg reminded us), a famous person would be more likely to get readers than an unknown would.
Virtually Live on Easter 5
Easter is 50 days, a week of weeks, 7 times 7. Today is the fifth Sunday of Easter, the 29th day— so Happy Easter, even as this year of grace inclines toward the Day of Pentecost! During our current Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) year A, the second reading for all seven Sundays of Easter is from 1 Peter, but today is the first time this Easter season we're formally studying a reading from 1 Peter. Because of time constraints – brain constraints, too? – most weeks we focus on only one scripture, but 1 Peter and 2 Peter would be an interesting separate in-depth study.
Rocks – Jesus Christ – Us
OT and NT both use many pictures and metaphors for our relationship with God. Some of them describe our relationship to God and our characteristics as Christians by using the same words as it does for Jesus.
Stones, rocks, bricks, granite, concrete: hard, heavy, solid, safe, impenetrable, permanent, won't easily decay
Solidness, safety and security of rock, brick, adobe, concrete, or any masonry as walls or building foundations. This is earthquake country! How does initial construction and possible retrofitting affect how we experience the world around us when the ground beneath us and around us shakes? It's common to parallel human insecurity during an earthquake with human insecurities during times our society, family, finances, jobs, income, toilet paper and paper towel supply—everything literally is shaky. No exaggeration!
Remember the 12 January 2010 M7.0 Haiti earthquake that left the country in shambles? Three months later, the M7.2 April 4th Sierra el Mayor / Easter EQ south of the international border in Baja California caused very little damage—though I can tell you it sounded like a freight train 100+ miles north in San Diego, Alta California. The Easter seismic event caused only minor disruption because contractors in USA and Mexico use rebar that reliably reinforces building materials that to some degree are stable and secure by themselves, but won't endure without added strengthening.
1 Peter 2:5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we over-spiritualize scripture and our lives as Christians. Although that spiritual dimension is essential to our identity as God's people, Judaism and Christianity are highly earthbound and embodied. However, a large sense of this passage from 1 Peter is about our spiritual strengthening – spiritual rebar? – about us, like Jesus Christ, firmly situated where God has placed us. To a limited degree we humans are stable and secure on our own, but we can't last long without reinforcement from the HS and from community.
• 1 Peter 2:4 Jesus, a living stone;
• 1 Peter 2:5 us, like living stones.
What does it mean for each of us as individuals, for us as a community of faith within LA, for any of us as we eventually get to travel outside this region again to be "living stones"? How about writing a poem?
Chosen – Royal – Holy – God's Own
1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.Often called a "baptismal hymn" the two verses of 1 Peter 2:9-10 highlight aspects of our baptismal identity.
Word study! What are your own word associations and/or definitions of…
• royal – noble
• priest – mediator
• holy – sanctified, set apart, sacred, consecrated
• nation – ethnicity, people, tribe, generation, population
• God's own people – KJV, "peculiar people" – "special possession" in some translations that echoes a distinctive OT title for God's people
• proclaim – announce, preach, speak, declare, advertise
• mighty acts – "praises" / "excellencies" in some versions