Focal Passage: 1 Peter
On the Christian calendar
Easter is not just a Sunday, but a season. It lasts for seven weeks, 49 days,
beginning of course with Easter Sunday. Day 50, the eighth Sunday, is Pentecost
(this year on May 23).
This time period reflects
the interval between the Jewish Passover (Thursday of Holy Week in the Gospels)
and the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, at the end of the spring harvest in
ancient Israel. (The name “Weeks” comes from “seven weeks”: Deut. 16:9-10, cf.
Levit. 23:15. The alternate title, “Pentecost,” is from the Greek for “fiftieth
day”: Levit. 23:16).
Celebrating a season, rather
than a single day, is a pretty good idea.
Our church observes the
season of Lent, the six weeks before Easter — not through ritualistic fasting
or self-denial, but by remembering, in private devotions and public worship,
that Jesus did in fact die, and why: for our sins. Lent gets us ready to
celebrate the resurrection. It keeps Easter from sneaking up on us.
And Easter, once it comes,
is too important to be relegated to one day on the calendar.
The letter of 1 Peter, our
focus during the remainder of this Easter season, is perfect for our
The first two lessons boldly
proclaim the resurrection and our part in it.
The lessons that follow
explain how believers in and beneficiaries of God’s saving act in Jesus Christ
are supposed to live.
Early Easter morning, while
it was still dark, our inner city churches gathered in a downtown park.
The music of a brass ensemble
echoed in the chilly air. We sang “Low in the Grave He Lay.”
The sky gradually lightened.
One preacher read the story of the empty tomb. Another preached.
We sang “Christ the Lord Is
Then, just as the sun peeped
through the trees, we confessed aloud the Easter faith so wonderfully
proclaimed in our lesson today (vv. 3-4, 8-9, RSV):
Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a
living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an
inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, kept in heaven for you.
Without having seen him you
love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with
unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the
salvation of your souls.
This is too good for just a
Let’s take some time and do
it up right.