Keep the Faith

resurrection w 3 crosses

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

This verse is from the second reading scheduled for this week you would have heard in church. The full reading scheduled is 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NRSV). The reading continues:
…and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

What reassuring words! Though meant for a group of people suffering thousands of years ago, it applies to us today. We are suffering through many various trials as we try to subdue the virus. Deaths have occurred. Many people have lost their jobs and even many businesses will not survive the economic cost COVID-19 has caused.

Rest assured, we are a people of faith and even though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, we have faith in his resurrection power. We will be inheritors of all God has in his Kingdom. We know this because of the Word given us.

Faith is a funny thing. People may have just a glimpse of trust that there is a God who created the world because there must be something greater than us that made all the universes and this wonderful world we live in. There are people who give their whole lives to worshiping and serving the God they know loves us so much that nothing can defeat us—even death. People like Mother Teresa who spent her adult life living with and helping the poor.

From Wikipedia:

In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also runs soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children's and family counselling programs, as well as orphanages and schools. Members take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and also profess a fourth vow – to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."

Muggeridge (1971), chapter 3, "Mother Teresa Speaks", pp. 105, 113

Mother Teresa was an excellent example to us of someone who obeyed Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbor. Her faith was so strong that she sacrificed her life to work to heal those who were in extreme suffering.

Some people come to have faith in the power of Jesus at the end of their lives. Take for example the thief hanging on the cross who stated; “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42 (NRSV)

Most of us have questions that challenge our faith of the resurrection life we will receive when Jesus returns. Some who were honorable Christians at the start of their life; going to church at least weekly, praying daily, offering time, talents and money to the church and other organizations helping the poor, still have doubts arise when struggles in their lives occur. They leave the church and seek other gods to believe and trust in. Today, I would guess some individuals’ faith in a loving God who will be there in our trials, is challenged.

During these dark days is when going to the foot of the cross makes the most sense to me. Jesus went to Jerusalem for all. Jesus suffered criticism from church leaders even when he had shown his divinity by performing many miracles. Jesus was beaten and humiliated with a crown of thorns placed on his head, for all. Crucifixion is one of the most heinous ways to die. Jesus hung on a cross so that his body would slowly collapse on itself and he would suffocate in his own bodily fluids. Jesus died for all. Then Jesus was raised from the dead, resurrected to give new life for all. He will return to give us the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading for all.

This is what our faith is built on—Jesus, our Lord and Savior, suffered, died, was resurrected and ascended into heaven for all to have salvation in him. Keep the faith even when we struggle through these dark days of death and illness, mental strife and fatigue due to COVID-19. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:29 (NRSV)

Let us pray...

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing upset you.
Everything changes.
God alone is unchanging.
With patience all things are possible.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone is enough.
Amen!

Paul Malek

Paul Malek

ELCA Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran, Ontario OR

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tammie Dockter

    What a thoughtful, comforting devotion! Thank you, Pastor Paul! Tammie Dockter

  2. Paul Malek

    Thanks, Tammie! I enjoyed writing it.

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