I take a few deep breaths and feel my weight on the chair as I exhale. I hold my breath so easily... especially when I'm typing! I let my thoughts slow down a little and feel my focus come in. I'm aware of a little more "spaciousness," room to acknowledge the holy. Gratitude for sacred space.
"I ask for the desire to pray and meditate on behalf of my community of faith. May we learn patience, tolerance, empathy, gentleness, and compassion. May we abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, self-righteousness, and arrogance. May we know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."
1 Peter 1:3-9
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, 4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice,* even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so 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 honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although 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, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1) "...great mercy;" "...a new birth;" "...a living hope;" "...an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading;" "...ready to be revealed in the last time;" "...you rejoice;" "...for a little while you have had to suffer;" "...more precious than gold;" "...praise and glory and honour;" "... you love him;" "...indescribably and glorious joy;"
2) What is the outcome of our faith? What is the salvation of our souls? There are many describers: imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven, inheritance, something worthy of rejoicing, praise, and glory, and honour... and worth various trials to obtain. I'm not always convinced that the trials are worth it. But its not like one can avoid the trials. The Buddhist proverb says, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." God help me to choose not to suffer. That's a skill I could develop... it is a skill that could use developing. Sometimes, I've just had enough of a particular trial and I want to walk away. Though I know that will only lead to other trials that could be worse than this one!
3) What is the invitation in all this? to keep the context of "for a little while you have had to suffer various trials" and "an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. Sometimes if feels like its the opposite: the suffering is unfading and the inheritance is a little while. But Peter turns this on its head.
"Holy One, help us hold to the living hope born in us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as we for a little while suffer various trials."
Breathprayer: "Inheritance... more precious than gold."