Homily delivered 7 May 2015
St. Augustine’s Chapel, Kabale, Uganda
1 Peter 2: 11-end
A general theme I find in the readings of these morning devotions is of blessings. What must we do to receive blessings from God? How should we treat our neighbors? We’re aware of the rules, the 10 commandments. We strive to lead a godly life.
This reading from first Peter gets right to it: as God’s people in this world, avoid the lusts and the bodily passions which tempt us. How easy will that be for us?
For some of us it will be very difficult. Bodily passions are felt by all. But the writer tells that these passions war against our soul.
Is this who God has called us to be? Fornicators and adulterers? No. We are his chosen people. We have a higher calling than the pagans or heathen…who know no better or who cannot control themselves.
I ask myself in certain situations: Is God’s blessing present in this behavior? Is this who God created me to be? Am I behaving in his image?
We can test ourselves through the fruits of the spirit, which the apostle Paul describes in Galatians 5. They include:
These are blessings, the fruits, of a healthy life…of healthy relationships, where there is light and life.
In 1 John 1:5 God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. If you are in the Lord, there is no hiding, no secrets, no sneaking around. There is light and life. And freedom.
As God’s chosen people, we are the light of the world. If not us, in this room, then who? We can set an example for others!
Verse 12 today, Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers, they will have to recognize your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming.
At home, a few years ago, a group of neighbours and I would meet on Sunday afternoons to play basketball. A lot of fun and very competitive. Afterwards, we’d sit around and talk. Occasionally the conversation turned to God. Not all my friends are believers, and a couple are very skeptical, or doubtful.
But rather than remain quiet, which I might have done earlier to avoid any confrontation, I stood up, and tried to explain the nature of God, as forgiving and loving—as Jesus—not the church.
I think we’re called to do that. I think we are special people.
15For God wants you to silence the ignorant talk of foolish people by the good things you do. 16Live as free people; do not, however, use your freedom to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves.
This doesn’t mean your lives will be boring. They will be enriched and blessed! Can you handle that?
The world tempts us with great pleasures. God promises us his blessings:
19God will bless you for this, if you endure the pain of undeserved suffering because you are conscious of his will. 20For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it. 21It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.
Be strong, my brothers and sisters. Encourage one another. Dont take the easy road. Look for the road less traveled.
24Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. 25You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.
My friends, you have a choice. Choose blessings!