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To This You Were Called

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Fr. Mark in Blog&Christian Spirituality
Dear Friends,
“You were called to this,” writes the Apostle Peter in his first epistle. The same phrase is used twice in back-to-back chapters (in 2:21 and in 3:9).  Called to what?  He lays out a challenging pattern. Despite suffering or injustice at the hands of others, or despite cultural values that clash with following and belonging to Jesus, Christians are called to choose for the Lord’s reputation a holy and respectful life within their local context.

This doesn’t mean Christians cannot use the legal and cultural norms of the society in which they live to initiate reasonable change or justice for others. Yet, Peter doesn’t encourage the Church in first century Asia Minor to become revolutionaries against ruling authorities or societal norms. Instead, he asserts that by living honorable lives of faithful witness that those who saw Christians act respectfully in the face of suffering will be positively influenced and regret their actions. The faithful witness is needed to draw outsiders into faith in Christ. It shows clearly a basic difference in human relationships and in relationship to God.
Peter applies this idea to marriages, slave ownership, civil relations, and even proper ways to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. He touches on something important, for it is human nature to want our way. In the West in particular, we chafe at the notion of submission to authority (despite our own Western country’s constitutions clearly citing structures of authority!). Wives repel from the idea of “submitting” to their husbands, and too many years of history have shown why as Peter’s words were misused to support suppression and abuse of women in marriage and society. Christians often struggle to submit to each other in the church and to the leadership authority of their pastors over them.  Why is this all so hard?  We want charge over our own lives. We want our way. We want sovereignty.
But who has sovereign control?  It isn’t the King, the Governor, the Prime Minister or President. It isn’t you.  God is sovereign, and God makes a way for his Church to reveal a different way of living.  This may not be something you consider very often, but I wonder to whom you need to submit? Do you find it hard to be in submission to those in authority over you? Maybe that’s your boss at work, your pastor at your church, or properly elected officials, or your teachers and administrators (if you’re a student).
Perhaps re-framing the idea would help.  You first submit to God to bring honor to him. That’s the expression of purpose and commitment. By application of that posture, submitting to those in authority over you reflects submitting to God and such a choice honors him. I hope that helps when you experience challenge with authority.
Grace and Peace,

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Anglican Mission logoChrist The King Anglican Church embodies the Three Streams of the historic Christian Church: The Scripture (Evangelical stream), The Sacred (the Sacramental stream) and The Spirit (the Charismatic stream).   We are happy to belong to The Anglican Mission: A Society of Mission and Apostolic Works. The Mission.  The Mission began in December 1999, and it has been the leader in establishing new churches and ministries in an Anglican heritage across North America. In recent years, The Mission has grown to include many overseas works, including The Anglican Mission: India.

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