Lectionary Year A
April 21, 2002
1 Peter 2:19-25
Step VI: Contemporary Address
(JFC) A. DESCRIPTION OF AUDIENCE
This last Sunday in April is my last Sunday to preach where I have served a
part time Interim. These people have grown through a right unpleasant,
even, for some, painful decision to dissolve a pastoral relationship with a
dear pastor of seven years admittedly because they could no longer afford
to support him and his family properly. This congregation, younger than
most, age-wise, and with many children and youth, has potential aplenty.
Presbytery recognizes that the population is mushrooming just across the
county line from the State Capital. Presbytery is committed to help them
redevelop. They need encouragement and support as they face yet another
change in their history. A Designated Pastor is on the way to lead them
through the redevelopment. They are committed to redevelop. Now they need
to focus on their future and God's leading them into it. This sermon
refuses to forget the past while it centers on God and the future as it
develops under God's guidance.
(JFC) B. GOALS FOR THE ADDRESS
One hopes, as 1 Peter gives us motivation so to do, to re-anchor the people
past, move them through God's past in Jesus Christ, and aim them into a
promising future God is ready to lead them into making for themselves and
(JFC) C. ADDRESS
Everyone suffers, our forebears, pioneering across the country establishing
world. The Kosovars at the hands of the Serbs even as we speak. You and I
suffer, relatively little, yet we do suffer with hardships raising children
and caring for aging parents, etc. Suffering happens. It is a way of
life. It always has been. We can endure suffering and pain and we can
survive it and grow through it if, IF, IF we can get it into and keep it in
proper perspective. How do we do that?
I. Increase Our Awareness of God
1 Peter 2:19-25 can increase our awareness of God. It speaks to our
conscience. It calls us to a renewed consciousness of God. It wants us
to utilize our faculty of moral consciousness to enlarge our perceptions of
God. It leads us to augment our data bank that informs us of God and of
God's will. God's will allows us to suffer. When we suffer knowing, or at
least believing God knows we do and is allowing us to hurt, we can begin to
appreciate God's role in even our aches and agonies, distress and
discomforts. God was there in the wilderness with Moses and the tribes of
ancient Israel. God accompanied the judges on their missions and the
prophets through their responsibilities. Etc., etc.
II. Recall the Christ Event
God also gets involved in our suffering. The epitome of God's involvement
in our pain came in the Spring of about 28 CE. In Jesus' passion and
death, God experienced human suffering's extreme. Jesus endured the cross
for us, in our stead and on our behalf. His suffering alleviates our
suffering for and by the guilt of our sinning. He did it when we deserve
it. He neither deserved it nor retaliated as a result of it.
II. Respond by Returning
1 Peter thinks we who have wandered, by now have returned to the Shepherd
and Guardian of our souls. Here, again, 1 Peter pictures an accepting God.
Today's passage assures us that we, who have been freed from our
sinfulness, can now go on living for righteousness. Some of the next
paragraphs in 1 Peter can give us ideas of how most faithfully to do that.
Our calling calls us to follow the example Jesus left us here on earth.
Let us go and do so.
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