Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 81: How to Wait

The short second letter of Peter begins by reminding us what it means of what it means to live as Christian people in the world:  moral excellence, self-control, endurance, godliness, affection for others and love.  But this reminder has a larger purpose:  the author of 2nd Peter knows that we are in this faith for the long haul.  The earlier letters of Paul spoke of the imminent return of Christ  They believed and hoped that he was coming back soon.  But now, well, he's still coming back, but perhaps not so quickly.  so what do we do, in the meantime?

We wait.  And we live.  And we live faithfully.  Which means....

we are on guard against false teachers, which are everywhere trying to lead us astray, both by teaching and by life style.  The author speaks about teachers who proclaim that there is no ultimate truth, and therefore no point to living a chaste and humble life.

The other two things the author of 2nd Peter does are:

1.  he retells the story of the transfiguration, remembering the moment on the mountain when Jesus appeared to the three disciples.  In the same way we retell the stories (not just of the transfiguration, but all of the stories of scripture, and also the stories of how God works in our lives).

2.  and he imagines the future that they are looking forward to, the future where there is a new heaven and a new earth, and righteousness is at home.

In between these two realities is faithful waiting and faithful living.  The author reminds us that in God's time a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day, and  that the delay is a gracious sign, because the longer God delays his coming, the more people who will hear and believe the good news.

And one more thing:  between God's faithful actions in the past, and our hope for the future, is the present, and the presence of God.

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