Our passage this evening is from 2 Peter 3:11-18, the conclusion of this little letter.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be? You must live holy and godly lives, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming day of God. Because of that day, the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
Preparing for Christ’s coming in judgment14 Therefore, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found by him in peace—pure and faultless. 15 Consider the patience of our Lord to be salvation, just as our dear friend and brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some of his remarks are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and whose faith is weak twist them to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
Final instruction17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been warned in advance, be on guard so that you aren’t led off course into the error of sinful people, and lose your own safe position. 18 Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.
Those who wish to continue with Lectio Divina can click here, then return to this page for the meditation and prayer.
I've been thinking today about what I was like as a young mother. When my son was small, and so active, and funny, and wonderful, he was also exhausting, and at times I lost my patience with him and yelled. Screamed, even. I became angry, and, poor little guy, he had the unfortunate experience of being the recipient of my frustration, usually in a loud, scary voice.
These are the things that haunt me.
But life is a wonderful teacher, and at a certain point I was able to teach myself patience. I would talk to myself, and I would say things like, "Be the mother. What would a good mother do?" (Probably not scream.) "What does the good mother want?" (She wants her child to be safe and well-cared for and happy.) By engaging in this self-talk, I was able to change how I responded to my child, and I became a better mother. By talking myself through a frustrating moment, I was able to find, and practice, patience.
"Consider the patience of our Lord to be salvation," we are told, in these final paragraphs of this little letter. We are loved by a God who does not have to engage in self-talk to practice patience, but whose very nature is covenant love and faithfulness. Though the anger of God comes through in these passages, so does the absolute conviction that God's sure intention is the creation of a new heaven, and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. God very much wants to see us there. It is my opinion that God can accomplish it.
"E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come," by Paul Manz; performed by Canticum Novum
Patient God, loving God, perhaps even angry God, we give thanks that it is your patience and love and anger that will bring about the era of righteousness for which we long. Let it be so, and soon. We pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.