1 From Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
To those who received a faith equal to ours through the justice of our God and savior Jesus Christ.
2 May you have more and more grace and peace through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Christian life in outline3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. 4 Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
5 This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. 8 If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 Whoever lacks these things is shortsighted and blind, forgetting that they were cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to confirm your call and election. Do this and you will never ever be lost. 11 In this way you will receive a rich welcome into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
This is God's word, to us, this day: Thanks be to God!
The Four Steps of Lectio Divina ("Sacred Reading")
1. Lectio: Read a short passage of scripture. Feel free to:
- Read until a particular word of phrase strikes you. ("If God comes in the first verse, why go on to the next?")
- Read the entire passage.
- What did it mean to the people for whom it was first written?
- What does it mean for me today?
- What does it mean for us, the community of God's people, today?
4. Contemplatio: Contemplation. This is the moment when you let go of words, images, wrestling, and wondering, and simply give yourself up to love. This is the celebration. Rest in God's love.
Every so often God speaks and I snap to attention. It often comes in the form of words shared by another person, often someone I love and trust. It often comes unbidden in scripture (if we have opened the book, my faith tradition tells me, it is God who prompted us to open it).
Advent is one of those seasons designed to snap us to attention, to tell us, "Hey, wake up!" We are spending these days in deliberate anticipation of a wondrous event, whose trappings bog us down, make us worry, and usually, make us feel utterly inadequate to the task. But in a more real way, we are deliberately anticipating, not a holiday, or even a festival, but the inbreaking of a deep mystery, the birth of God's presence, not just as a baby 2000 or so years ago, but now. Here. In us. After dinner, or while we're watching Netflix, or after we turn the lights out and just before sleep overwhelms us, or in a dream. God with us. In us.
In all honesty, who could possibly be ready?
Here's the sentence from our passage that grabs me: "By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory" (2 Peter 1:3).
Everything we need.
What an extraordinary thing to say. Do you feel like you have everything you need for holiness? For life? I, most often, do not feel that way. But in this moment, as this season breaks open and holds the possibility tantalizingly before me, I say: Let's trust it. Let's trust these words. We have everything we need for life and for holiness. God has provided.
Thanks be to God!
"Sleepers, Wake!" by Johann Sebastian Bach, as performed by the choir of the Episcopal Church of Saints Peter and John, in Auburn, NY.
In this holy season, God of mystery and might, awaken our souls to your love and presence. Assure us that, in you, we have all we need for life, for holiness, and for sharing the good news of your love with a world in pain. We pray in your holy and unpronounceable name. Amen.