I’m having trouble here balancing the laptop, Bible and cat on my lap. The Bible and cat are sort of large but the cat has decided these days to see what it’s like to be a lap cat. It feels peaceful as we sit here. These winter days, I associate the feeling of peace with the feeling of being covered, like with a warm blanket (or cat). We feel this when we watch the winter sunrise or sunset through the bare trees or see fall leaves floating on a creek.
As in yesterday’s reading, in today’s reading Peter talks about how we can bring peace to others, specifically those who ask us about our faith. Be gentle and show respect, Peter urges. I like his use of the word respect which denotes that we shouldn’t speak down to others, but treat them as equals, even those with whom we disagree. In this way we can bring peace, like a warm blanket, to a potentially tense situation.
Peter also discusses peace in the midst of suffering. We can feel peace, he says, in this way, “in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (v 15). I picture my heart as large room, and sitting in the center is Christ, and I am worshipping at his feet. I picture the room as empty except for Christ; empty of other distractions. When we suffer for doing good, Peter says, remember the cross of Christ.
Finally Peter offers encouragement for those suffering at the hands of those who deride those who follow God’s way instead of “plunging”, as Peter says, into the flood of misdeeds. Be faithful, Peter says, as we will be judged for our actions.
May we today, bring peace and feel peace as we set apart Christ as Lord.