Read 1 Peter 1:3-9
We’re reading Peter’s letter to the churches in Asia Minor. Peter was in Rome writing to the Christians because he had heard of their persecution from neighboring Greek and Roman cities and wanted to encourage them.
Peter wastes no time in praising God for the greatest gift: a new birth into a living hope. He is reminding the churches of God’s mercy, that He has saved them and placed a shield around them. God has given them an inheritance that cannot perish. That is cause for celebration! Peter recognizes that even so, grief and pain are part of the story. Peter tells them these trials will be a purifying fire to their faith, making it more genuine. He is trying to center the churches’ focus on the end goal: their salvation. They can be filled with God’s inexpressible joy even though they cannot see him.
The juxtaposition of trials and deeper faith can be encouraging and infuriating: knowing that a trial will make my faith stronger doesn’t make the trial any easier. But this actually provides a tiny window into Jesus’ life. His life, filled with persecution and trials, was redeemed and sanctified. He is now in glory at God’s right hand on an eternal throne. God is offering the same inheritance for us. What a powerful and humbling thought!
I’d like to lead you through a short exercise. You’ll need paper (maybe a journal), a pen or pencil and a black sharpie or marker.
We will be writing a found poem from today’s scripture. A found poem is created by using only words, phrases or quotations from the original text. Here’s an example:
Write down the verses in your journal or on paper.
Read through the verses three more times. The third time, begin choosing words or phrases that speak to you. Circle the words and phrases as you go. There’s not a set number you need to choose, maybe 20–30 words/phrases as a guide.
Take the black marker and black out the rest of the verses.
Take a few minutes to read through your found poem. You can rewrite the words so that they’re poem-like or leave as-is.
What does this new text capture about God?
What does it say about you?
Identify moments in your life that have brought pain. God does not ask us to cover up the pain and pretend it wasn’t difficult. He calls us to take joy in His hope and cling to His salvation.
Lord, thank You for Your living hope. May I shout from the rooftops of your great mercy and glorious joy! Thank You for your grace when I cannot summon the strength to praise Your name. When I cannot see You, You can still fill me with inexpressible joy. Fill me with that joy today. Amen.
Holly is part of a City Group in central Clintonville.