Lectionary Year A
April 18, 1999
1 Peter 1:17-23

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge


The contrariety among the erroneous and the orthodox positions stand out as we read and reread this selection. The emphasis on God's glory, Christ's salvation and the people's growth in faith seem to be the most salient features here.


If you call upon God who judges all impartially, then live throughout your life reverently. You know that God redeems you from any natural and characteristic unworthiness. God does so, not via any material "things", but through the precious and priceless gift of Christ. He was always revealed and now also unto you as the One through whom you come to trust God, for God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory. By it your faith and hope look to God. Thereby, your obedience to the truth leads you toward rightly and deeply loving others. Accordingly, you experience renewal. It comes via the living and enduring Word of God.


People living in our world today suffer like people in the earliest centuries of the Common Era. They/we get too busy to pray, get inundated by rampant materialism and forget the eternal dimension of the Christ event. They/we put trust in "things" more than in God. They/we assume we are grown/matured enough, even in faith development. God's Word has little value or authority in today's climate. People readily admit their lack of familiarity with these elements 1 Peter addresses.


After The Fires, Then What?

Used by permission from Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit by Merle G. Franke.

      Gloria and her husband Glen lived in one of the posh sections of a Los Angeles suburb. The wealth Glen inherited from his family enabled him and Gloria to live inluxury, which both of them enjoyed as much as anything in their lives. Glen died in his fifties of a stroke, and after Gloria had mourned properly for a decent length of time, she was determined to make their house one of the best in the city of upscale homes. Her late husband's wealth continued to fuel her dreams and she used much of it to complete her dream house.

      "It's my life," she would declare to visitors who came to see her and her house. "It's everything I've ever dreamed of," she repeated over and over to a succession of friends and an increasing number of people who were just curious about her place.

      Yet not too far from her mansion lived Stan and Betty, an older couple whom Gloria and her late husband had known years ago. They lived in a modest three bedroom house which was comfortable but not pretentious. Since they were both now retired, they spent some of their spare time making minor repairs and touching up the paint job from time to time. But their house was not all they lived for. It was a dwelling, and it kept them safe from the elements. That was how they viewed their house.

      That basic difference in their viewpoints became obvious when the tragic fires hit the hills of Los Angeles. The fires started in several locations, some probably from natural causes, others perhaps intentionally set. In any case, the great fires wreaked havoc on a large number of people in the hills of the suburbs of Los Angeles.

      When the brush fires, fueled by high winds, found their way to Gloria's house, she was away on a brief trip. But she heard about the fires before returning home. The news reports put the fires in her neighborhood. "If I hear the fires have destroyed my house," she told her friends before returning home, "that will be the end of me - there's nothing left. Nothing." She cried uncontrollably for a few moments, then repeated, "I have nothing to live for if my house is gone. Nothing ..."

      Meanwhile Stan and Betty were told by authorities they must evacuate immediately because the fires would soon engulf their neighborhoon. After they had moved to a safe area, they watched the fires slowly eat their way from one house to the next. They were silent as the flames licked their house and in a short time reduced their house and possessions to ashes. They held hands and said nothing for a moment.

      Finally Stan said, "It was only a house ... wasn't going to last forever anyway, was it, honey?"

      Betty said softly, "It served us well while it lasted." she paused and then added, "We've got some things that are far more lasting that that house anyway. We've got each other." She paused again for a moment, "and we've got our faith in God."

      "Fires can't take those things away, can they?" Stan replied. There were a few tears in their eyes. Stan squeezed her hand ever so slightly.

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