Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Pilgrims in a Foreign Land
1 Peter 1: 8-12
The Rev. Dr. James N. Jacob and Ninni Jacob

Rhode Island
12. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!

 In Hebrews 13:14 we read "Here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come". In our earlier days in the US about forty years ago, we had to complete ‘Alien Registration Cards’ at the post office. That reminded us that we were aliens in a foreign land. Peter wrote his letter ‘to the elect strangers of the Diaspora’ including those in Asia, which means he had us also in mind. The word ‘Diaspora’ means ‘dispersion’. The Christian Church is scattered all over and we are exiles in the world.

Peter calls us the ‘chosen people of God’ (eklektos), chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, consecrated by the spirit. Peter wrote to a Church that was unpopular and facing persecution. He wrote to many who had never seen Jesus, yet loved him and believed in him whom the prophets foretold through the Spirit of Christ within them. Even the Vedic scriptures prophesied about the sacrifice of Prajapathi.

We live in a world not much different from the first century, in spite of many scientific advances. We are scattered all over the world as a community of believers, not just an ethnic group alone. We belong to the Church, the body of Christ, not just a particular denomination alone. This is a time to be a light in the dark world, true to the motto, ‘Lighted to Lighten’. Peter encourages us to be steadfast, preaching the message of salvation.

Let us remember that our focus is not to glorify ourselves or our particular ‘churches’, but to glorify God by being active in the local body with humility. We are like ‘the living stones to be used to build a spiritual house’. Therefore, let us gird up the loins of our minds, not conforming ourselves to this world, but with gratitude for the mercies of the past and with resolution to meet the challenges of the new year. We are a people of hope since the best is yet to come.

PRAYER

Loving God, as we stand at the threshold of a new year with new hopes and new expectations, You only know what it holds for us. Give us the strength and the wisdom to meet its challenges in our journey as pilgrims. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
 
"For a Christian every foreign land is a native land and every native land is a foreign land." William Barclay.