Thought for the week

Thought for the Week provides a Verse, Thought and Prayers for the week ahead.  We trust you will find these helpful and encouraging in these times.

Verse for the week:

Psalms 137:4 [King James Version]

“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

Thought for the week:

In the early days of the church, Christians often thought of themselves as exiles or “strangers” on earth. Although their physical surroundings may have been familiar, spiritually they were “living in a strange land.”

And maybe none more so than those followers living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappodocia, Asia and Bythinia (modern day Turkey). For the most part these Christians were not Jewish by birth, but Gentile, and would have been criticised, disowned, ridiculed and persecuted by communities and families who felt that they had turned their backs on tradition and values to serve this new God.

So, it is to these brothers and sisters in Christ that Peter writes his first letter, encouraging them to live with confidence in God, in a complex world.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Life used to be more simple” – I find myself using it more often these days! We live in a complex world and (maybe it’s an age thing?) it seems to be becoming more complex every day.

So how does Peter encourage these early Christians (and us) to live with confidence?

He starts by reminding them that they are (i) God’s chosen people and as such they should not be surprised that they are (ii) living as foreigners and “strangers” in their own surroundings; he then goes on to remind them that (iii) God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is with them and at work in them. And towards the end of his letter, Peter tells them to

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” [1 Peter 5:7  – NLT]

This world is a complex place; many different voices try to influence our choices; what were once simple truths are now challenged or ignored; moral values for many have become relative rather than absolute; the Covid-19 pandemic, which at first brought out the best in people now seems – for some anyway – to be bringing out the worst in them, while others are brought down with physical and emotional worry about health, employment and finances.

So what can we do to “sing the Lord’s song” in this strange and complex world we’re living in? God has promised that he knows all our situations and circumstances, and that he understands and loves us – and all people. Life can, at times, be difficult, but he is faithful.

Listen to what Peter says at the end of his letter:

“My purpose in writing to you is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.”

May we all stand firm in God’s grace in these strange and complex times.

Amen.

Prayer for the week:

In his study on 1 Peter, Joe Warton finishes by offering this prayer for all of us:

We are a chosen people,

a royal priesthood,

a holy nation,

a people belonging to God;

not because of anything we have done,

but because of God’s grace to us

in Christ Jesus.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,

let us live our lives in a way

that points others to Jesus,

for the glory of God

Amen.

(© LICC Ltd, 2019)