Strangers on the earth
Getting to grips with the message of 1 Peter
“.. that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light …” [1 Pet.2.9]
These are changed days! Our land has moved from being ‘the land of the Book’ to being an essentially secular society, which has defiantly thrown the Book well and truly out of the pram.
Both the rapidity with which that shift has happened, and the extent of the change which has occurred, have taken many by surprise and left many in something akin to a state of shock – quite taken-aback and, indeed, sometimes almost traumatised, as the Christian church is often ridiculed and vilified, and as believers today now find themselves pushed out to the margins of society, and viewed as oddballs, bigots, baddies – anything but ‘mainstream’.
This is not how it’s meant to be…. Or so we think.
But in truth the ‘norm’ for the followers of Jesus Christ has in most places and at most times down through history, seen them out on the fringes of society, often pilloried, sometimes roundly persecuted, and in varying degrees deprived of the sort of ‘platform’ which for centuries here in Scotland we have simply taken for granted.
It’s hardly surprising that this letter we know as 1 Peter has become in recent years very much part of the ‘staple diet’ of Christians in the west, as the foundations on which our society has been built have started to crumble; for 1 Peter has just such a situation in mind, sent to Christians who were increasingly finding themselves marginalized and persecuted on account of their faith.
How can you declare the praises of the Lord when you’ve not got the platform to speak? Or as the psalmist expresses it – “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” [Psalm 137.4]
In many ways that’s the question which 1 Peter seeks to answer. May we all learn well from the lessons which this letter provides, and be the better equipped to sound out the praises of our Saviour today!