May 25 Sermon – “Periods of Transition”
I Peter 3:13-18
Tradition tells us that the Apostle Peter wrote this pastoral address to house-churches scattered across five Roman provinces. The letter is to encourage these churches who were living in a non-Christian environment.
This passage focuses on how to deal with unjust suffering because of our faith. How do we know if we are suffering unjustly? We need to have a proper fear of God in the present that is firmly rooted in knowing what is, in fact, our hope.
V. 17 – Doing good is always God’s will even if it results in suffering.
This is Luke’s story of the ascension of Jesus.
What is the point of Jesus’ death and resurrection? Answer: So that the church will be rooted in scripture and active in mission. Jesus is the fulfillment of scripture which tells the story of God’s desire to rescue all of creation from sin and death. Jesus is commissioning the disciples to continue to live out this good news.
Jesus promises his followers that they would be equipped with power from God to continue the mission of sharing God’s healing love with the world.
Notice that Luke’s gospel ends as it began in the Temple at Jerusalem. The point is clear. Worshipping the risen Lord is at the heart of Luke’s vision of the Christian life.
Both scriptures focus on transitions. I Peter touches on the transition of being faithful to Christ in a non-Christian environment and the story in Luke tells the ascension story of how Jesus blesses the disciples as he prepares to leave them.
As we go through life’s transitions, we are to trust in Christ and to carry on the mission of offering God’s healing love in the world.
This time of year (Memorial Day Weekend) is a time of many transitions: Graduation ceremonies, preparing for a new season of summer, etc. How do these scriptures help us to face these times of transition?
[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.]