Lent 2023 Day 31: Wed 29 Mar

Lent 2023 Day 31: Wed 29 Mar

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.

We are now around thirty years since Peter first became an apostle. Tradition would have it that Peter had travelled to Rome, though the Bible does not record this. There may be some who would like to link Peter physically with the foundation of the Catholic Church in Rome. It seems that Peter did not travel much. This letter to exiled believers (were they exiled Jews who’d been converted?) is written in polished Greek – could Silas have been his scribe? – while his second letter is in rougher Greek.

The letter opens with the usual greetings and blessing before Peter gets down to the main contents. Peter touches on many issues, and he draws a bit from the letters of Paul, the acknowledged theologian of the new faith.

Imagine yourself as a believer in one of the Roman provinces. What would you know? What would you have been taught? Have you laid down patterns of meeting together with other believers? What things are you sure about, and what is still unclear?

The various churches that had been set up would have started as gatherings in public places. People came together by the river, where they would wash themselves and their clothing, and where there would be more women than men gathered. The public forums in town and city centres would be good places to meet initially. Both places were locations for evangelising, where people would be reached with the message of the gospel. To carry out this sort of work from within an established building would be totally ineffective.

In time, someone may have offered their house as a meeting place. No-one was in a rush to build dedicated meeting-places yet. There were no service books, or hymnaries apart from the Psalms. No worship band, no projectors or screens. And no Bibles.

Where does your church fellowship meet, apart from within the established place of worship?

Where can the world see your church fellowship, apart from within your established place of worship?

Lord God, your grace and love in Jesus are for all humankind. Open my church up so that we take your grace and love as revealed and expressed in us to our neighbourhood. Amen.

Down to the river

Street worship

If the authorities can do it…