Called as resident aliens | Youth Devotion | 3.22.20

Contents (click to jump)

Opening Reflection

“A sign hangs on the wall …. :
‘Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.’

I was, and remain, a Christian who longs for revolution, for things to be made new and whole in beautiful and big ways.

But what I am slowly seeing is that you can’t get to the revolution without learning to do the dishes.

The kind of spiritual life and disciplines needed to sustain the Christian life are quiet, repetitive, and ordinary.

I often want to skip the boring, daily stuff to get to the thrill of an edgy faith. But it’s in the dailiness of the Christian faith—the making the bed, the doing the dishes, the praying for our enemies, the reading the Bible, the quiet, the small—that God’s transformation takes root and grows.”

– Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary

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Scripture Reading

1 Peter 1:1-2

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

Video

“Exile” – The Bible Project
We’ve watched this Bible Project Video once before, but you may find reviewing it relevant as we consider 1 Peter’s context: a church living as witnesses in a culture which finds them strange, alien, foreign, even if they have lived there all their lives.

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Prayer

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” — The Jesus Prayer.

This is an early Christian prayer. It was developed as a way for Christians in the first centuries of the Church to, as the New Testament says, “Pray without ceasing.” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

It is an easily memorable phrase we can pray over and over.

Try praying this for several minutes, and then, during times of work or rest, remind yourself of this phrase and pray it throughout the week.

During these few minutes, consider each WORD OF THE JESUS PRAYER.

I’ve posted some questions to reflect upon. Repeat the Jesus Prayer to yourself, part by part, and consider these questions for several minutes.

Lord – What does it mean Jesus is Lord? Lord of the world, of the church? What does it mean to recognize Jesus is Lord, ruler, over your life? That Jesus is Lord, to to be honored, by all Christians?

Jesus ChristWhat does it mean for someone who does the things Jesus does to be revered as that Lord? What did he say? What did he do? What is unique about the time and place he walked the earth? Note: “Christ” is not a last name. It is a title. “Messiah” or “Christ,” is the anointed one, the Prince of Peace. How did he show this? How is this man, born in time and place, also forever, eternal?

Son of God – The Love of Christianity, is the Love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is not just an example of love, but is love. How does Jesus talk about the Father? How does Jesus do the will of the Father? Why is Jesus the beloved Son with whom the Father is well pleased?

Have mercy on me – Mercy, by definition, is not deserved. We can think of a million things wrong in the world, as there’s more than a million things wrong. But why would we pray for God’s mercy not just for the world, but for us? What would praying for our own mercy by so important to early Christians? Why might it be important for me?

“God doesn’t need us to remind him to be merciful; he is merciful all the time, even when we don’t ask. But unless we make a habit of asking for mercy, we forget that we need it. Ego builds a cardboard fortress that humility must, every day, tear down.

Frederica Matthewes-Green, The Jesus Prayer, 162.

Later, (WITH PERMISSION, TAKING PROPER PRECAUTIONS),

Go on a 10 to 15 minute walk around your neighborhood.

Thank God for your neighbors, schools, local non-profits and businesses, first responders, and local government officials.

Rejoice over the place where you live.

Rejoice over the people in your life: family, friends, our church.

In between specific prayers for those in your community, keep praying the words of the Jesus prayer on your lips (even if you’re mouthing them without making a sound).

(Credit for the walking prayer goes to Dr. Angela Gorrell).

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Devotion (LIVE STREAM)

EDIT: Unfortunately, I had technical difficulties. The YouTube live stream did not happen. Instead, we met on Zoom.

Thanks to the students

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Response

  • Will you commit to studying 1 Peter, with us, as a youth ministry?

    It would require a short reading (1-1.25 pages), 5-days a week— and keeping track of your thoughts and questions to bring to our meetings.

    – What better time to commit to getting into, or back into, the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer, than this time?
    (If a daily devotion would help you in this habit, expect one in our Tuesday newsletter).

    Check your e-mail. The PDF of the study is included. Start with week 1.
  • Find ways to encourage others, living as ones called by God.

    – How can you encourage someone else, to let the hope of Jesus be seen in your life?

    – Below is one example from Shane Claiborne via Twitter.
    (make sure you have permission before doing something like what I’ve included below, but I wanted to include it as an example):
Click to see a whole thread of those sharing encouraging messages to their neighbors in their own neighborhood, all while maintaining currently proper “social distance”!

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Closing Blessing

“…[S]eek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” . . . .

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:7, 10-13

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