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Friday, April 29, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Peter 2:1–10
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”
“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. (NRSV)
Peter wrote this first letter to the people of Rome around the year 70 CE, and in it he is offering an incredible and transforming path to new life for them and us. The path begins with what we all need to let go of. He writes, “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.” Easier said than done, since we all know people who fall into these poisonous habits and do many of these things on a regular basis.
Peter says letting go of these behaviors is the start to new life, a life which begins with a rebirth. He urges us to become “like newborn infants” longing for “the pure spiritual milk.” Anyone who has experience with a newborn infant knows how essential actual milk is every two or three hours, night and day; a baby needs that nourishment to grow and to continue living. Peter wants us to continually seek God and to live in the path of Jesus the same way an infant seeks milk: seek God through worship, prayer, and reflection and live the way of Jesus by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Peter is interested in this growth, which allows infants to eventually become “living stones . . . built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.”
The fullness of this life with God, and in Jesus, is described as Peter writes, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Once we let go of what can hold us back—malice, guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander—this is the promise of what we can become: a royal priesthood, God’s own.
The choice is ours to make. One path leads to darkness, and the other path leads to marvelous light, a light that knows no ending, even beyond death itself.
Loving God, help me to let go of whatever holds me back, and instead help me to love you and love my neighbor more with every passing hour. Surrounded in that love, let me see only you, only light. Amen.
Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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