Different Kind of Exile

Scripture Focus: 
1 Peter 2.15-17
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

From John: This repost from 2018 cannot be more applicable. Too many of us are ignorantly using our “freedom” to cover up our evil selfish desires in the midst of this COVID-19 response.

Reflection: Different Kind of Exile
By John Tillman

In 1 Peter 2, we see that the scattered exiles from Jerusalem must live in submission to masters, whether harsh or kind. Their lives—their good deeds—are literally the arguments they are to defend themselves with.

In Isaiah, we see a different message to the soon to be exiled. It is a taunt for their enemies to be used in the distant future after the current hearers are long dead and a future generation is restored.

But as Christians go into exile in the rising anti-Christian culture, we don’t seem to be willing to serve our oppressors in love. We want to taunt them now, not later.

As the exiled people of God, Peter tells us to silence the ignorant not by shouting them down, but through service, respect, love, and honor.

Peter encourages his exiles not to allow the oppression and suffering they are going through to be something that crushes their faith. Instead they are to allow the weight of their suffering to press them deeper into the footprints of Jesus Christ who has walked the path of suffering before us.

Living as outcasts in society has nearly always brought healing to the church through suffering. The historical church that suffers, tightens its grasp of the gospel as it loses worldly influence and power. The church that suffers scatters, spreading the gospel to new areas and communicating it in new ways. The church that is oppressed, attacked, sidelined, and shunned, is shunted back onto the narrow path of obedience to Christ.

Peter’s words about living in a pagan society have always been applicable, but they seem especially appropriate to our times. Most people who don’t accept Christianity aren’t concerned with our theology. They are concerned by our actions.

They need to see the argument of our actions line up with our words, and they need to see the integrity with which we suffer.

In this world, we are cast out. In the renewed world we will be brought in. May that day come soon. And may we bring many following behind us.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet. — Psalm 85.13

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 14 (Listen – 5:04) 
1 Peter 2 (Listen – 3:48)

This Weekend’s Readings
Isaiah 15 (Listen – 1:34), 1 Peter 3 (Listen – 3:30)
Isaiah 16 (Listen – 2:32), 1 Peter 4 (Listen – 2:50)

Read more about The Mingled Prayers of Exiles
We abandon hope in princes, kings, or human power, taking refuge only in you, Lord. (Psalm 118.1-9)

Read more about In Denial in Exile
The elders of Israel…were continually in denial about their judgment and exile.

Te Deum Laudamus

Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 2.24-25
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

From John:
This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God.

Reflection: Te Deum Laudamus
By Nicetas of Remesiana (5th Century)
Translated by John Dryden (1631–1700)

Thee, Sovereign God, our grateful accents praise;
We own Thee Lord, and bless Thy wondrous ways;
To Thee, eternal Father, earth’s whole frame,
With loudest trumpets sounds immortal fame.

Lord God of Hosts! For Thee the heavenly powers
With sounding anthems fill the vaulted towers.
Thy Cherubim thrice, Holy, Holy, Holy, cry;
Thrice, Holy, all the Seraphim reply,

And thrice returning echoes endless songs supply.
Both heaven and earth Thy majesty display;
They owe their beauty to Thy glorious ray.
Thy praises fill the loud Apostles’ choir;
The train of prophets in the song conspire.

Legions of martyrs in the chorus shine,
And vocal blood with vocal music join.
By these Thy church, inspired by heavenly art,
Around the world maintains a second part;
And turns her sweetest notes, O God, to Thee,
The Father of unbounded majesty;
The Son adored co-partner of thy seat,
And equal everlasting Paraclete.

Thou King of Glory, Christ of the More-High,
Thou co-eternal filial Deity;
Thou who to save the world’s impending doom
Vouchsaf’st to dwell within a Virgin’s womb.

Old tyrant death disarmed, before Thee flew
The bolts of heaven, and back the foldings drew,
To give access, and make Thy faithful way,
From God’s right hand Thy filial beams display.
Thou art to judge the living and the dead;
Then spare those souls for whom Thy veins have bled.
O take us up among Thy blessed above,
To share with them Thy everlasting love.

Preserve, O Lord, Thy people and enhance
Thy blessing on Thine own inheritance.
Forever raise their hearts, and rule their ways
Each day we bless Thee and proclaim Thy praise;
No age shall fail to celebrate thy name,
No hour neglect Thy everlasting fame.

Preserve our souls, O Lord, this day from ill;
Have mercy, Lord, have mercy still;
As we have hoped, do Thou reward our pain;
We’ve hoped in Thee—let not our hope be vain.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your name, lead me and guide me. —- Psalm 31.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 21 (Listen -5:03) 
1 Peter 2 (Listen -3:48)

Thank You!
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Read more about Thanksgiving and Prayer
With one voice we offer you praise and thanksgiving; full-hearted, full-throated we sing you the hymn you have right to at this hour.

Read more about Thanksgiving in Times of Trial
The first Christians were thankful in suffering because their focus rested not on the storm around them, but on the solid rock of Christ.