I met six-year-old Kyle just before Christmas several years ago.
He excitedly offered to recite the story of Jesus’ birth from
Luke’s Gospel. He got to his favorite part—where the angels
appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed, “Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth, peace!” But his mind went blank.
He thought hard. Then he started again confidently, attributing
these words to the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest
. . . and I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!”
God’s vision is peace, but our world is plagued with huffing
and puffing: gale-force winds of war that sweep the globe; tornadoes
of terrorism that strike and spin off in perpetual cycles of
vengeance; hurricanes of hatred that divide person from person
and nation from nation; untamed tempests unleashed by our
grasping abuse of the planet.
Today’s words from First Peter about suffering and persecution
may seem foreign to our ears, but such is the lot of many of
the world’s people. The cries from homeless shelters and refugee
camps, from safe houses and rickety boats on the run, remind us
that the world’s huffing and puffing creates many victims.
Those who “keep alert,” who pursue the truth and resist the
evil that lurks like a devouring lion, cannot help but be buffeted
by the persecuting blasts. Our calling is clear: to stand in the
gaps with the world’s victims, working to make God’s promise
the world’s reality.
We are not alone. Whatever comes, God will “restore, support,
strengthen, and establish” us. What power those words
hold! To be established implies a groundedness that enables
our survival of any wind that comes along. May we hold our
ground, working for the day when we can join the angels in
proclaiming with joy, “On earth, peace!”
Steadfast God, anchor me in your word and your love, so that I may work for your peace. Amen.
The entire Easter season focuses on the new governance that breaks the grip of all that is old, tired, deathly, and enslaving. The psalm shows the church using the ancient language of enthronement. Now it is Jesus through whom the drama of God’s power is brought to fruition. In Acts, the community accepts the new governance as a bold witness in the world, sustained by a disciplined life of prayer. The epistle reading addresses people who are in the midst of suffering, hurt, and need. They are enjoined to powerful hope for the time of God’s eventual and full triumph. The Gospel portrays the church under the power of God’s resolve, being given a wholly new identity and vocation in the world.
• Read Acts 1:6-14. Having received the power of the Holy Spirit, how is your life unfolding?
• Read Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35. When have you sensed God’s absence? How did you attempt to fill that void?
• Read 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11.When has God restored you?
• Read John 17:1-11. Where do you see Jesus as you go about your daily life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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