I'm praying that you are all doing well as we continue through this totally unusual time. And when I say "doing well," I'm talking about something far deeper than how you're passing the time or whether or not you were able to find toilet paper on your last shopping trip. While those things are important to our daily lives, I'm asking you today how your soul is feeling. It's kind of a deep question, so find your teen, make some tea or coffee and settle in to talk about it.
Our verse for today is 1 Peter 1:17-23 New International Version (NIV)
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
That word "perishable" has a really unique meaning in this passage. When I think of "perishable," I tend to think of food spoiling or something physically disintegrating. However, Peter uses the word to describe gold and silver, elements and minerals that simply cannot just disappear. Therefore he must be talking about far more important things than physical items. How can things perish that can't be physically destroyed?
Unfortunately, we are seeing many things perish from our lives right now: family gatherings, time with friends, proms, graduations, college tours and many more. Most of us probably never conceived that these special opportunities could disappear from our lives overnight. I have to think that maybe Peter is referring to this very phenomenon in his passage. In his bible study, writer Sam Sheridan points out "the upended reality of God in Christ" ..."it challenges our very assumptions about the nature of the universe." Peter uses the illustration of wealth and how it can come and go for many throughout life as an example of the way that things we often consider to be pillars of our life can still crumble. We have seen many tragedies happen around the world from natural disasters to wars, but this pandemic has taken away parts of our lives we never thought we could see perish. That is why we have to keep a close eye on our souls during these unprecedented times. We have to be kind to ourselves as we process this and we have to fortify our spirits to be able to withstand this storm with faith.
The good news that Peter offers us is "21 Through (Jesus) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." Our faith and hope are rooted in the Almighty and unchanging God. Another passage from the Bible study written by Sam Sheridan says, "Even in the most classical theological accounts, God has upended the world we are taught by culture and history. God has been revealed in Christ and his precious blood was worth more than anything the world has ever used to measure wealth. Every emperor and every dynasty and every owner of every vault of silver and gold will fade away, while Christ will endure forever."
Christ WILL endure forever, and that is the hope we have to cling to. And Peter tells us " 3 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." So while our lives as we knew them have changed for the foreseeable future, God has promised us that our souls have been fortified with imperishable seed. Whether it be the loss of money or the experience of a senior year, these losses are crushing, but God has already provided us with the unshakable love and fortitude to get us through.
I am heartbroken for the losses that our teens are encountering right now. I know that they will take this experience with them for the rest of their lives. I would love to hear how everyone is doing and if anyone has any thoughts or reflections from the lesson. Please reach out through cell, email, zoom...however you want! I will continue to pray for all of our souls, that they may be strengthened during this time as we find safety in the imperishable love of God.
**quotations taken from 1 Peter 1:17-33(NIV) and a bible study from the Episcopal Church by Sam Sheridan.
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