Come Holy Spirit and open our eyes that we might even see wonders in your Phrase. Amen.
Good morning. It is fantastic to see you. So why 1 Peter? Once we began taking a look at this, virtually everybody earlier than the St. Augustine’s seminars mentioned, ‘1 Peter? Why 1 Peter? What’s unsuitable with Paul? Is he out of style?’ And as soon as they studied 1 Peter, they mentioned, ‘sure, 1 Peter, clearly’. We all know that the Bible is central, is foundational to all the things we do as Christians. We all know that the Bible is particularly on the coronary heart of Anglicanism, finding out scripture collectively, listening to scripture in our liturgies, wrestling with the textual content collectively. Listening to the spirit, within the Anglican custom, is just not open solely to those that are educated and geared up. It’s the reward of God’s phrase to each Christian.
One of many best impulses for the event of nationwide training in England at first of the nineteenth century, was so that everybody might learn the Bible. And scripture is the inspiration of this convention and every morning we will likely be finding out 1 Peter and listening to the witness of a variety of voices participating with this textual content. 1 Peter engages plenty of large themes for us as a church holiness, exile and displacement, energy and authority, hope and struggling, hospitality, and others.
And it is hanging that though the world by which we dwell is totally totally different to that of Peter within the first century, and though the world has shifted on its axis within the final 10 years with COVID, and different issues, the message of 1st Peter continues to be completely related. Its context is related. From its very opening. We’re instructed that the letter is from the Apostle Peter, to the exiles of the dispersion, the diaspora, In Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.
Exile has two meanings in Peter. In 1st, Peter, the primary which means is, as we might perceive, exile around the world, as everybody understands exile. It’s people who find themselves residing aside from of their native nation, their dwelling nation, pushed out maybe by battle, maybe by circumstances, no matter it’s, by commerce, they’ve determined to go abroad, they’re residing away from dwelling. And within the Roman world, the Roman Empire, that was a harmful place to be, since you didn’t have the safety of legislation in the identical means, because the indigenous individuals to every space did. It is true in lots of locations immediately. Secondly, exile is a theological time period, which means that each one Christians in every single place, all of us have our first citizenship in heaven and we’ve got twin nationality. Our second citizenship is our passport on this earth.
And it is actually vital as nicely, as a result of Christians, if we describe Christians, the earthly nationality is the qualifier, you are an English Christian, or an American Christian or a Sudanese Christian or a Malaysian Christian, you are not a Christian Malaysian. The primary identification is we’re Christians. And there are over 2 billion of us all all over the world. And all of us belong to Christ.
And from the start, Peter’s communities suffered from rejection and harassment, by their society round them, as a result of their Christian identification made them suspect. They tousled the entire understanding of society. Once they received collectively, that they had slaves and aristocrats sharing the Eucharist. That they had foreigners sharing the Eucharist. That they had individuals from good backgrounds and backgrounds sharing the Eucharist. That was not the best way you probably did it. It isn’t the way you lived in these days. And so the letter exhibits that once we are devoted, we’ll discover we’re exiles.
And so loads of the letter and significantly the extra controversial bits are about learn how to be devoted and nonetheless to outlive. Many individuals on this room perceive that check. This pressure runs by means of out the letter, the exiles are recognized as chosen, destined and sanctified by Christ, their exiles the place they dwell, however in God’s eyes, they’re indigenous to heaven. They’re indigenous to heaven as we’re. And this identification simply goes proper by means of the letter. The Spirit is working in them to make them holy. And they’re known as to be pilgrims to journey with Christ collectively and First Peter is, in lots of locations a textual content that for a lot of of our years is startling. It is tough to listen to, we’ll get to the tough bits about slavery, migration, social identification, exclusion and struggling. And the goal of this time collectively, is to listen to after which focus on and work collectively, and to be devoted to the textual content and what it teaches us, as a result of it has a richness and depth, which can train us enormously if we let it and a compelling message regarding the reworking pleasure of Jesus Christ, which leads us into being the type of church that we should be. For many people, Peter touches on tough subjects, and we aren’t going to skip them, we will speak about them. And so you will hear many voices on the display, speaking concerning the tough bits and tough points.
We’ll hear to one another, and to listen to and find out how totally different communities have totally different understandings of key themesin 1st Peter. And we’re going to be as clear as doable, to be sincere with one another, to stroll in humility, and within the gentle. And we will attempt to do what Peter says, to have a spirit of honesty, encouragement, gentleness, and humility, for that’s the solely means we are able to work collectively. So let’s transfer on to the textual content.
1 Peter 1 units the tone for the entire letter. These known as exiles in 1 Peter 1 verse 2, are instantly known as chosen, destined and sanctified. They’re the communities of 1 Peter, they’ve skilled or they’re experiencing persecution. Peter exhorts Christians in Diaspora in dispersion, to place their religion in God and never lose hope, in an setting of despair, and suspicion and hostility. One of many key points of 1 Peter is the way it expresses hope to those that are being persecuted. Allow us to be clear, on this corridor, many dwell in locations of persecution, a few of it violent and open, a few of it barely higher hid. And it’s tough for many who don’t expertise persecution, to grasp the fact of the recipients of this letter. And there’s a large hazard of us being extra keen to evaluate Peter for what he says with out contemplating his context. However we aren’t right here to evaluate Peter for what he writes. We’re right here to hear and to use hermeneutical abilities to grasp why and what this implies for us immediately.
Hope is the second theme. The primary one is alienation and persecution. We’ll hear extra about that in a minute. Hope is the second theme. Hope can’t be separated in Peter, from the life and dying of Jesus Christ. It isn’t the identical as optimism. David Porter the Chief of Employees at Lambeth usually quotes a minister in Northern Eire, through the troubles the combating in Northern Eire, who when he had a gathering, he’d come out and the journalists would say, Minister, are you optimistic? And he’d say no, however I’m hopeful. He was a Christian. He understood the distinction.
Hope is just not what we’ve got, it is what God has for us. It’s in heaven, ready for us. It is what we all know we will get, it isn’t primarily based on wishful pondering or fantasy. It isn’t primarily based on propaganda from the Roman Empire, or those that declare to have Gods or authority. We’re each reformed, and Catholic and within the Reformation we realized, forgive me, my pricey brothers and sisters, however bishops do not at all times get it proper. We simply have to do not forget that we generally get it unsuitable. Even Archbishops!
And the results of that’s, we come beneath scripture, hope, can confront dying and despair solely when it’s primarily based not on what a human says. However what God says. It isn’t primarily based in our personal actions or our private piety. It’s all the things to do with what Jesus has executed. Many in our communion need to wrestle to carry on to hope – somebody the opposite day was saying to me, that within the province that they lead, that they serve and lead individuals are drifting away, in some instances from the church, on account of 15 years of battle. They’re saying – 25 years of battle, I believe, they’re saying, we pray, however there may be nonetheless battle, how can we nonetheless hope? And the reply is as a result of the hope is within the life and dying of Jesus Christ. And so many people so lots of you’re experiencing huge struggling, cyclones, three cyclones in two months in Madagascar and southeast Africa on the finish of final yr, race primarily based violence, persecution, gender, violence.
Rebirth, and resurrection is the third theme, the motion from dying to life for us, which we have been singing about in our fantastic worship, the motion from dying to life, is completely certain up with us being in Christ, we may have life we’ve got life now, we hope for all times everlasting, as a result of solely of Jesus. I do know one thing about many individuals on this room, however I do know one factor about everybody who follows Christ, not simply on this room, however on this planet, that they may have everlasting life as a result of solely of Jesus Christ, and so they have contributed nothing to that reality. It’s all God’s work. This rebirth in Christ strikes us from no hope, to hope, from ignorance to information, from disobedience to obedience.
After which fourth theme, we all know pleasure. Personally, I discover this one of many hardest issues to interact with, as a result of all of us have totally different personalities. I used to be speaking about one of many bishops spouses earlier, who’s simply somebody who bounces in every single place. They’re simply continuously bouncing. They’re filled with pleasure. There is a sequence of kids’s books in England known as Winnie the Pooh. And Rowan Williams mentioned, each human state of affairs could be defined with the hermeneutical instruments of Winnie the Pooh. And in Winnie the Pooh in one of many characters within the ebook is a tiger known as Tigger. Some individuals are Tiggers they bounce in every single place. Some individuals like me, are Eeyores, we’ve got our heads down. If one factor goes unsuitable, we predict oh, that is regular. What is the subsequent factor to go unsuitable? And it is a part of our persona.
However pleasure in Christ is one thing else. Once we worship and we sing what God has executed for us, will we keep in mind the enjoyment? Some years in the past, many yearsago, I met in Switzerland, a Cardinal, first Cardinal I would ever met, I’ve met extra sense after which fantastic. Cardinal van Thuan. He died. He went to be with the Lord some years in the past. However I met him he’d been Archbishop in South Vietnam and what’s now Ho Chi Minh Metropolis was then Saigon, when the Communists took over in 1975, I believe it was, and he was arrested. And he was held for 9 years in solitary confinement. In some unspecified time in the future, his his writing, and his books are so stunning, and they’re on hope. They usually’re on pleasure. And he talked, I used to be with him with a buddy of mine for the afternoon, he was giving a lecture within the night, and we spent the afternoon I simply listened.
He spoke of his expertise of 9 years of torture, in solitary confinement, how his torturer had turn into a Christian, and ended up in jail with him how he’d began on the seminary within the jail, the place the lectures got by whispering down the road when the prisoners had been being counted, and so forth, I will not get carried away. And he instructed how in his jail, in his cell by himself underground. He mentioned mass on daily basis, with one grain of rice.
And sufficient rice wine smuggled in, to carry simply within the palm of his hand, which was the chalice. And as he mentioned, the mass he danced with pleasure. He danced with pleasure, at his salvation, pleasure, whether or not centered on Christ, these struggling now are assured of the work of God to deliver new life by which our previous is forgiven. Our current is protected, and our future eternally is assured. Christ’s struggling and glory function the instance and encouragement to those exiled Christians. Christ’s struggling and self sacrifice, are the foundations of the fifth theme, which is the decision to holiness in 1 Peter, Peter goes again and again and echoes Leviticus. He calls us to holiness, to mimic God, in God’s self sacrificial motion in the direction of us in Jesus Christ. God is holy and we’re known as to be holy. And this holiness is just not one thing we are able to management, or earn. It’s an invite, and a present.
And Peter units that out fantastically in chapter 2, which we’ll see I believe on Monday. And Peter says that fantastic phrase: you’ll all do not forget that God’s presents are higher than gold or silver. They by no means perish, spoil or fade. They’re the one factor like that they’re the one issues we feature with us earlier than past the grave. Once we stand earlier than Christ, in judgement, dealing with judgement, our Lord and Saviour won’t be all in favour of whether or not we had been bishops or archbishops or bishop’s spouses or no matter. Uninterested, he’ll wish to know ‘do you like me? Did you say Jesus is Lord?’ It is all that issues. The particular person sleeping on the road is simply as vital as any of us. And there may be on account of these fantastic themes that can come by means of the ebook. There’s a sense of journey and progress throughout 1 Peter.
In lots of components of our world, and in lots of components of the church, there is a sense that after you are transformed, baptised, that is it. Peter says ‘no it isn’t’ – and his theme was picked up within the early church, significantly Irenaeus and Origen, mentioned that formation, journeying, rising, studying. Keep in mind in John, Jesus says, the Holy Spirit will likely be main you into all fact. And for Origen and Irenaeus and the opposite Christians of the period of nice persecution the second of conversion was not often vital earlier than you had been transformed, earlier than you had been shaped, it was probably the most harmful second the place you may remorse it, you may be knocked off your religion the place you may slip and fall again. As a result of the brand new convert was uncovered to threats from the world, the flesh and the satan.
So one of many challenges of this passage is to ask how we draw individuals into progress in Christ all through their lives. And in each diocese, that’s the best problem for us, draw the flock to develop in Christ all through their lives and consequently, most of the verbs in a single Peter within the Greek are energetic verbs. They assume an motion is ongoing, changing into residing stones, changing into examples to the flock, casting our anxieties on God.
We’re united in our hope, in our love for Jesus. Completely. However as a church in widespread, by the best way with each international church, we’re additionally divided by the belief that the important thing themes of 1 Peter imply the identical for everybody. That my struggling is precisely the identical as your struggling. However it’s not and that’s the reason we should come collectively and hear to 1 one other, and stroll with each other and study from each other. As a result of the identical phrases imply various things to totally different individuals. Empathy, the phrase meaning strolling in each other’s footwear is far tougher than judgement. It’s simple to sentence, it’s arduous to inform the story of somebody we disagree with, in a means that they recognise it as their story. How can we stroll and witness collectively if we have no idea one another’s tales?
All these scenes of hope, put so fantastically and movingly by such an unlimited vary of individuals in contexts of struggling, pleasure, despair, holiness, exile, transformation. They’re all attributed to the apostle Peter. And that can’t be a coincidence. Peters story embodies all these themes. The identical Peter, who denied Christ is the one commissioned, forgiven and known as to have a tendency the flock. And when Jesus meets him on the seashore of the Sea of Galilee, he doesn’t say, ‘Peter, you’ve got executed so nicely, because you denied me that you have earned your means’. He merely says ‘do you like me?’ Peter can be a mannequin of lived struggling. He is aware of about alienation and the longing we’ve got to belong.
Jesus known as Peter to comply with Him in His ministry, and Peter volunteered to take action. However he failed, and ended up denying Jesus 3 times. He suffered from isolation and alienation when he separated himself from Christ. By denying him, Peter struggled with what it means to comply with Christ. Return to John chapter 13, and you discover him struggling – ‘what wash my toes, you will by no means wash my toes!’ And Jesus says, if you wish to belong to me, I need to wash your toes. We all know Peter earlier than the resurrection, a Peter who suffers, who’s decide who failed, who lacked understanding, and noticed not less than one in all his fellow disciples, not as a brother in Christ, however as a competitor. However we additionally know Peter after the resurrection, the primary one known as by Christ, to have a tendency my sheep. He affords us a mannequin of lived struggling, he affords the mannequin of in the end giving his life for Christ, in his life, and in his dying. He’s one who is aware of about alienation, and the longing, we’ve got to be one with Christ.
And that is why 1 Peter speaks to our tales, when like, Peter, we endure, we decide, we compete, we fail to comply with faithfully, and but we’re known as by Christ to have a tendency flock of God. Peter upsets energy dynamics, he calls us to hearken to these whose experiences a lot nearer to what he skilled, than in our world immediately. It is hanging what number of within the conversations really feel that one Peter speaks on to them, Bishop Azad from Pakistan, Archbishop Hosam, from Jerusalem. For as a lot as we’re known as to hope in a single Peter, hope and alienation, hope and struggling are reverse sides of the coin.
Psychologically, it kills you, as we hearken to the varied voices, we hear such totally different understandings, all primarily based in scripture or primarily based in expertise, however such totally different understandings of the phrases hope and alienation?
You understand, we right here within the international north in England, we regularly have to remind ourselves we all know, however we neglect that the Bible could also be written in English, however it’s not an English ebook. It was written over a interval of a millennium, 1000 years throughout. Throughout large distinction in circumstances, by individuals impressed by the Spirit of God. And when it’s learn, in numerous circumstances, individuals hear phrases in their very own language, they hear them in a unique sense. So why 1 Peter, why 1 Peter presently? As a result of we’d like one another. As a result of we’d like one another.
We aren’t excellent. However we’re known as to stroll collectively, to witness collectively, and to hear collectively in Christ. Many in our world immediately are alienated just like the communities of 1 Peter. And we’re known as to hear and assist them. Once we get to 1 Peter 5 there’s the decision to solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ. And the understandings and expertise of exile and alienation with brothers and sisters within the Anglican Communion are innumerable. And all totally different. 1 Peter calls his communities to dwell as God’s chosen individuals – those that are excluded, marginalised, unheard are God’s individuals. That is us right here. And all we all know and love in our church. We’re God’s individuals known as to embrace our widespread name to hope in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. However we’re undeniably divided. Who’s included or excluded from our communities? Who’re the aliens and the exiles is totally different from province to province diocese, to diocese. How we take into consideration hope, is totally different. We have simply heard that, I’m satisfied that with any of those key themes, holiness, struggling, persecution, rebirth, salvation, hospitality, we are able to discover disagreement.
Disagreement doesn’t matter. However we see in a single Peter, and proper by means of the New Testomony, that division does matter. It’s not the gospel. Peter ends the primary chapter by telling us that the message shared is the excellent news that was introduced to them. And it’s the excellent news of Jesus Christ, which is their basis of their life collectively. The dying and resurrection of Jesus is the inspiration of the Residing Hope. There isn’t any different technique of getting that hope.
It’s the means by which we’re in a position to stand agency towards all that brings dying in particular person lives and communities on this planet. The Gospel of Christ that we proclaim, the hope that we embody is sweet information, not only for us, however for all God’s individuals. The decision to us, throughout the entire Catholic Church, the worldwide Church, – I am not simply speaking about Anglicans – is to cease our civil wars. There are sufficient on this planet with out having them within the church.
And the excellent news is that once we are one in Christ, divisions between Christians of all sizes and styles stay, disagreements stay however divisions are robbed of energy.
The facility of Christ overcomes all that seeks to alienate, to fragment, to make for worry. We could also be disparate, we’re divided, however we’ve got a typical identification that’s over all the things, that we belong to Jesus Christ. Our identification is present in Christ. Our mission is God’s mission. Our hope resides and alive not stagnant and off. What’s the excellent news that you just deliver to this gathering? How may you be open to encountering the excellent news of Jesus Christ right here? For that, openness, listening, studying, strolling, witnessing collectively, is how we’ll meet the goal of this convention: to fulfill Christ, to come across Christ, and that is what we search now, as we meet collectively in our Bible research teams.
Allow us to pray. Oh Lord, who preserves for us the reward of hope saved up for us in heaven. Allow us to return with humble hearts and open spirits that your spirit by means of one another could fill us and information us collectively. Amen
Via prayer, Bible research, fellowship and dialogue, the convention neighborhood will discover what it means for the Anglican Communion to be conscious of the wants of our twenty first Century world. Learn 1 Peter and discover out extra concerning the theme and biblical focus right here.