Lectionary Year A
April 11, 1999
1 Peter 1:3-9
StepV: Hermeneutical Bridge
Auditors in the pews today might benefit from realizing the greeting in 1
Peter addresses them. We are today's "chosen according to God's
foreknowing us as sanctified, obeying and baptized/sprinkled with Jesus'
blood". We receive the gift of new life and hope through Christ's
resurrection. We have inherited the imperishable, undefiled and never
fading. We are the protected by God's power. Therefore, we rejoice even
if distresses test us. We praise and honor and glorify God. This passage
could have our names and addresses on it. It tells us who we are from
God's Word's perspective. It helps identify us and tells us why we come to
worship. We believe in Christ who is invisible these days. We love Him
though He escapes our sight. Believers who read or heard this epistle in
the first century must have appreciated a glimpse of God's appreciation of
who they were or could be becoming. Lots of people who come to church must
wonder, honestly, who God thinks they are and how God evaluates their
spiritual maturing. The sermon might proclaim God's vision of the faithful.
It might picture God's viewing the community hearing this passage read,
interpreted and lived-out through the next weeks, months and years. It
could focus on scenarios people's lives might encounter in the
foreseeable future. It might be entitled, "'(Peek-a-boo?) I See You,' says
God". Then it could describe how God assesses the faith development of the
faithful in the pews and their neighborhoods, offices, shopping malls, etc.
A Peek Into A Trunk
Used with permission from Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit by Rev. Merle G. Franke.
George and his wife were visiting his widowed sister Elaine in their hometown in Nebraska. Elaine's and George's mother had died two years ago and this was the first time George and his wife had been able to visit Elaine since the funeral. So there was a good deal of reminiscing about their mother and father and life on the Nebraska farm where they grew up.
They talked about the years of the Great Depression, the dust storms, the drought, the joys of growing up in large farm family. They always had enough to eat and often wore hand-me-down clothes, yet in spite of some hardships, they spoke warmly of those earlier years.
As their conversation drifted back to their late parents, Elaine suddenly said with excitement in her voice, "George! Do you know what? When mother died I got that old trunk of hers, and I've never opened it. It's down in the basement with junk piled on it!"
"Let's go open it and see what's in it," George offered. "Who knows, there might be a treasure in there that she left for us."
With a feeling of childlike excitement, the three of them hurried down the basement steps. Sure enough, in the corner of the basement was the familiar old trunk George had remembered from his youth. After they removed numerous items from the top of the trunk, they gingerly opened it to see what treasures it might hold for them.
As the trunk lid squeaked open, the three seekers were met with nothing but stale air. "The darn thing is empty," Elaine giggled. "Well, so much for an inheritance from that trunk."
After they had returned upstairs and were sipping coffee, the three of them laughed at their peek into the trunk. "I guess we all knew there wouldn't be anything in that trunk," George said.
Elaine responded, "We knew good and well that the folks never did have much in terms of material goods, so there simply wasn't anything for us to inherit. We knew that long before they died." She said it without any traces of regret or apology.
"Well, let's just think about this whole business for a moment," George suggested. "What is it that's really important in an inheritance anyway? I've heard that the average inheritance of material substance - money, stocks, other physical assets - usually is gone within a couple of years."
"I know what you're thinking," Elaine interrupted. "What we inherited from our folks was a good deal more valuable than any material things they could have given us ... "
"Exactly," George continued. "What did we get from them? Values, for one thing. The intangibles like honesty and integrity and hard work... values that are far more lasting."
"And your Christian faith?" George's wife suggested.
Elaine said, "That trunk may have been empty, but our inheritance was pretty full."
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