Today’s text opens with praise: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” This acclamation sounds straightforward enough, since it is one we hear or speak week by week, in some form, when we gather to worship. But in today’s reading, it is the prelude to the story Peter is intent on telling. For Peter, this blessing opens us to God’s working in our lives: We are not simply to give some report about what we believe but to live into the mysteries of faith. How do we do this? By practicing resurrection day by day, no matter what comes.
Peter follows his praise with a promise: God desires to give us nothing less than “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” A new birth? Really? The doubt we might feel lurking in our minds in the face of such a promise is reasonable enough, particularly when we feel overwhelmed by life and unable to find even traces of light amid our darkness. Wherever we are, God calls us to “practice resurrection”—not by verifying an ancient historical report of something that happened at a tomb two thousand years ago but by heeding the invitation to live into incarnation, that “hint half guessed” and “gift half understood.”
Peter’s call to meet suffering with joy might test us or strike us as indefensible. But the story of Easter is that we do not face our burdens alone because Jesus went before us, obedient all the way to death on the cross. (See Philippians 2.) As Peter reminds us, “Although [we] have not seen him, [we can] love him.” What better way do we have of practicing resurrection?
Living Christ, today I seek to love you whom I cannot see and to trust in your promise that you are with me, whatever comes. Amen.
In the week following Easter, we reflect on the Resurrection. In Acts, Peter declares to his fellow Israelites that the story of Jesus is the fulfillment of promises made to their people long ago. He quotes Psalm 16, the second reading for the week, and applies it to Jesus. First Peter opens with a passage of extended praise for God’s mercy, and this is rooted in the hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus. Yes, we may suffer in this life as Jesus suffered, but just as he is glorified, we will also one day be glorified in the Lord. John recounts a post-resurrection appearance to the disciples. All except Thomas have already seen Jesus, and here is Thomas’s first interaction with the risen Lord.
Read Acts 2:14a, 22-32. How do you practice living into the “ways of life”?
Read Psalm 16. What would change if you were to make requests for God’s protection a fundamental of your faith?
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. How does the mystery of the Resurrection help you understand and love Jesus?
Read John 20:19-31. What role does forgiveness play in the way you practice resurrection?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.