Scripture for the Day: I Peter 4:1-11
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (I Peter 4:8-10)
Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus that we hear a lot about in the Gospels, is writing these letters later in his life. Peter is the disciple who Jesus named as “The Rock.” He is the loyalist who cut off the ear of the soldier in defense of Jesus. And here, later in his life, we encounter a follower of Christ who brings wisdom and reflection and humility as he encourages other followers of Christ.
I have heard Paul described as the Apostle of Faith and Peter described as the Apostle of Hope. God does not give up on people. We have reason to hope in the midst of our circumstances, even the most difficult places we find ourselves in. Our text this morning begins with Peter bravely naming the suffering that we endure and offers a way to approach it.
Peter invites us to keep choosing how we will live in these days. We can choose to “live for the rest of our earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.” (I Peter 4:2) We can turn from what tears us down. Peter gives examples like licentiousness (sexual immorality), drunkenness and idolatry. We can turn to what draws us closer to God. Peter gives examples like “discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers” (I Peter 4:7), love, hospitality, and service.
What choices will we make today?
Today is Memorial Day for our country. It is different than Veterans Day. On Memorial Day, we remember those men and women who have given their lives for the freedom of our country. I cannot think of a better example of living out this instruction to love and serve one another.
My Dad served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years following college. He served stateside during the Vietnam War. When he got his order to deport, the war ended. His job at the former El Toro, CA base was to help Marines when they returned from combat. He listened. He loved and served and mourned. It was this work that led him to pursue seminary instead of a career with the FBI. I do not know of any year that my Dad has not shown up for, and most often led, a community service for Memorial Day. He recorded one for his community in Moorestown, NJ, for this year.
https://www.moorestown.nj.us/ (Click on Memorial Day Ceremony)
If you, or someone you know, has served our country in the military, you know firsthand stories like my Dad knows. Let us show up for one another. Let us remember and honor those who have died for our freedom. In the end, may each of us follow in the way of Christ. Amen.