Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2, NIV*
So begins the Apostle Peter’s first letter to the early Christians. What catches my attention is his use of the words “strangers” and “scattered” — I don’t know if they’d been intentionally scattered by persecution as some were, or if Peter is just talking about how the believers are few and far between.
Whatever the reason, telling them there are other Christ-followers spread through the area reminds them they’re part of a larger group. They’re not as alone as they may feel.
I think that’s why he calls them “God’s elect” too — it’s not a snooty term for “better than the others,” it reminds them they’ve been chosen by God and belong to Him. He loves them.
Living in obedience to Jesus Christ can make us feel like we don’t belong. In a sense, we don’t. We’re changing, and while we pray those around us will recognize that God has also chosen them, for now we’re the oddballs, the aliens. But that’s okay.
Our hearts need acceptance, but the world around us is not the place to expect to find it. Peter reminds us we’ve found acceptance in Jesus. We belong.
Father, thank You for choosing us, for knowing and loving us before we came to You. Thank You that Jesus came, God in the flesh, to heal the broken. Everyone is broken somehow, Lord, and you’re not willing that any should perish. Help each one recognize that You’ve chosen them too. Help them come into Your healing embrace.
This week’s song is an oldie from the group Petra. It’s a medley of the Doxology and their song, “Not of this World,” and it’s one of their quieter pieces. I’d forgotten how much I loved this album.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I enjoyed being reminded of our strangeness! 🙂 It also reminded me of Rich Mullins and his song, “Homeless Man,” which I have on a DVD about him. Before his death he had an uncanny sense that he could no longer be at home in this world. I think he felt a stranger here.
P.S. I too am a fan of Petra and love the song.
I can understand why people think the world will “evolve” into a holy place. I find myself hoping for that to happen too. Every time something holy is acknowledged by the world my hope swells. In reality though, if we cease to be aliens in this world it will probably be because we have compromised truth at some point. Rich is no longer an alien in his world. That’s what I’m waiting for–the next world. But I realize that while I wait I need to keep trying to bring heaven into the lives of others down here.
Rich Mullins sounds like an amazing person. I’ve only heard a little of his music and his life. I’ll look for the “Homeless Man” song.
Larry Norman sang, “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.” I want to make a difference by being here, though. If we leave and there’s no difference, was it worth being here?
Steven Curtis Chapman warns that “We are not home yet” and not to grow weary “or too content to stay”. Words to live by.