Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bethany Bullet for Week of May 28, 2017

Sermon: “God’s People: Helpful”
Text: 1 Peter

In his first epistle St. Peter portrayed the Gospel in all its beauty and clarity.  We, unworthy to enter God’s presences; we, undeserving of God’s love; we, unable through our own efforts or merits to garner a welcome from heaven; we, “who at one time were without mercy”; we, “who at one time were in utter darkness”; we, “who once were not even a people”; have through God’s own action in Christ Jesus “received mercy, been brought in God’s marvelous light and become a people…a chosen people.  Because of the precious blood of Jesus, a lamb without blemish or imperfection.”  (I Peter 2)

The author of this epistle, the artist who so magnificently paints a verbal picture of the Gospel for us continues by portraying what the Christian life looks like.  Peter declares that we are God’s people: Holy, Humble, Harmonious and Helpful.

We are holy on account of Christ. 
H – is
O – wn
L – edger is
Y – ours

His righteousness, purity and perfection credited to us through faith.  Thus as His holy people we will…For
H – is
O – wn
L – ikeness
Y – earn

And to
H – is
O – wn
L – eading
Y – ield

As His people we shall, like our Lord, humble ourselves by not thinking more of self than we ought and by considering others more important than self.

As His people we will live in harmony.  Insisting on unity in Essentials; offering liberty in Non-Essentials and striving for charity in all things.

The final picture St. Peter presents is one of God’s people as helpful.  Helpful seems to lack punch and pizzazz does it not?  Often people use the word in a rather sarcastic way, “Oh that was helpful.”  Some would suggest that we beware of those coming to offer help, especially if unsolicited. 

Helpful might need a little help, hence the visual…

This piece of art hangs in my office.  Many years ago the hands simply fell off; reminiscent of the traditional tale of a cathedral in Europe.  During the Great War a cathedral was heavily damaged by bombing.  The congregants felt blessed that the statue out front of the sanctuary that beckoned worshippers into the sacred place was almost unscathed.  The only damage it suffered was that the hands of Christ were sheared off.  Rather than repairing the statue the congregation decided to place a plaque at its base that read, “In this world, we are Christ’s hands.”  Those words echoed a poem written by St. Teresa of Avila centuries earlier, “Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands, no feet, on earth but ours.”   That poem echoes Peter’s final portrait of Christian living presented in his epistle as God’s people as a helpful people.  For the lost and lonely, for the hurting and hungry, for the struggling and sorrowing, we are His hands.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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