3 May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 4 You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish—an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you. 5 Through his faithfulness, you are guarded by God’s power so that you can receive the salvation he is ready to reveal in the last time.
6 You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. 7 This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine. (Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.) Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. 9 You are receiving the goal of your faith: your salvation.
Scholars don’t agree on the authorship of this letter but they are confident that it was written in the later first century or early second century to churches in Asia Minor who were facing challenges of living as strangers in strange lands. Their faith was being questioned as they encountered new cultures, new languages, and countless other obstacles to life.
I imagine that they wondered, as we do, “Why is it necessary for us to be distressed by various trials?” The scripture says, “so that your faith may be found genuine.” We are called to have a faith that can stand up to any time of distress or trial, a faith that can withstand anything that life throws at us. Many people are wondering whether this virus is something God has created. I personally cannot believe that God would create something like Covid-19. My “genuine” faith is in a loving God of “vast mercy” and nothing can move me from that position. The only explanation I can offer is “Life Happens” and that with it comes both joys and sorrows. One thing this crisis has proven is a saying of Jesus found in Matthew 5:45: “God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” The greatest way I have found to remain faithful to God in the midst of colossal challenges (and we’ve had a few) is to believe that life happens to everyone. How we choose to respond to life and what lessons we learn from life are our choices!
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
We celebrate Easter not just once a year, but every Sunday, because we believe what verse 3 says: that we “have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We are people of HOPE: hope in a future here on earth that looks better than today and hope in life eternal with God our Father and Mother that will be more glorious than anything we could ever imagine.
Prayer: We pray with all the saints in glory for God’s kin-dom to come, here on earth as it is in heaven. We pray with all those on the front lines of the current health crisis for enough test kits, for enough PPE, for successful treatment solutions, and for a vaccine to fight the Covid-19 virus. We pray with all the children of God for a world that is as God imagines it to be. Amen.