Peter Post Ascension
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Tucked into the lectionary for today is this little reading from 1 Peter. It probably won't be read in many churches, because the main focus will be on the Ascension. We don't really know who wrote it, but the attribution to Peter is good enough for me today. The voice of Peter in this passage reminds me of why the Ascension of Jesus was so important to Peter...it was not until Jesus left that everything fell into place for Peter, and he "got it" he really "got it!" In the words of this beautiful passage we hear the truth about this life...fiery ordeals happen, strange things happen, and in them we can rejoice because we are sharing in Christ's sufferings.
Peter speaks from experience. He denied, betrayed, abandoned and bewildered Jesus, and yet he was "restored, supported, strengthened, and established." We who are facing fiery ordeals and strange happenings right now might be reassured that, though our "adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour," the ascended Christ, the God of all grace will prevail, we will be restored.
Look up, look around, look within, look without and listen to the voice of God. Follow the Light. as I tell my grandson when he has bad dreams. Like Peter, perhaps we needed Jesus to ascend so that we could be "restored, supported, strengthened, and established. I hear the voice of the little engine that could every so often saying, "I think I can. I think I can."
God will prevail...but sometimes I whisper "please hurry!"