Skip to main content

What it means to be a Christian

1 Peter 2.1-10 ( NRSVA)
Here the author of 1 Peter uses some everyday images to describe different aspects of the Christian life. 
He begins by borrowing an idea from Paul and then expanding on it. Paul had reminded the Christians in Corinth that it’d been necessary to feed them with milk because they were ‘infants in Christ’ who weren’t ready yet for solid food. 
The author of 1 Peter says all Christians should ‘like newborn babies, drink spiritual unadulterated milk’ to ‘help [them] grow into salvation’. He’s no longer thinking, as Paul did, of milk as a starter food for people who aren't yet ready to digest the real thing. Instead, he’s thinking of it as a rich and creamy gift from God. This isn’t milk that’s been watered down to make it go further. It’s full-fat milk packed with nutrients - a gift to those who’ve ‘experienced that the Lord is kind’.
He then riffs on the idea of ‘Peter The Rock’. But he reminds his readers that the true rock on which the Church is founded is ‘the Living Stone’, who is Jesus. Although he was ‘rejected by God’s eyes [he] was select and precious’ and his followers are being ‘built up into a spiritual house’ which rests on this ‘cornerstone’.
And yet, ‘what is precious’ to some people seems ‘worthless’ and just a ‘trip hazard’ to those who don’t believe in its value. What they fail to recognise is that if they’d allow themselves to be incorporated into the body of Christ they’d gain a new and unshakeable identity. They’d be transformed from stateless refugees, condemned to wander around in search of a purpose, into ‘the People of God’.


Popular posts from this blog

I don't believe in an interventionist God

Matthew 28.1-10, 1 Corinthians 15.1-11 I like Nick Cave’s song because of its audacious first line: ‘I don’t believe in an interventionist God’. What an unlikely way to begin a love song! He once explained that he wrote the song while sitting at the back of an Anglican church where he had gone with his wife Susie, who presumably does believe in an interventionist God - at least that’s what the song says. Actually Cave has always been very interested in religion. Sometimes he calls himself a Christian, sometimes he doesn’t, depending on how the mood takes him. He once said, ‘I believe in God in spite of religion, not because of it.’ But his lyrics often include religious themes and he has also said that any true love song is a song for God. So maybe it’s no coincidence that he began this song in such an unlikely way, although he says the inspiration came to him during the sermon. The vicar was droning on about something when the first line of the song just popped into his head. I suspect …

Giotto’s Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds

John 1.10-18
In the week before Christmas the BBC broadcast a modern version of The Nativity which attempted to retell the story with as much psychological realism as possible. So, for instance, viewers saw how Mary, and Joseph especially, struggled with their feelings.

But telling the story of Jesus with psychological realism is not a new idea. It has a long tradition going back seven hundred years to the time of the Italian artist Giotto di Bondone. This nativity scene was painted in a church in Padua in about 1305. Much imitated it is one of the first attempts at psychological realism in Christian art. And what a wonderful first attempt it is - a work of genius, in fact!

Whereas previously Mary and the Baby Jesus had been depicted facing outwards, or looking at their visitors, with beatific expressions fixed on their faces, Giotto dares to show them staring intently into one another’s eyes, bonding like any mother and newborn baby. Joseph, in contrast, is not looking on with quiet app…

Why are good people tempted to do wrong?

Deuteronomy 30.15-20, Psalm 119.1-8, 1 Corinthians 3.1-4, Matthew 5.21-37 Why are good people tempted to do wrong? Sometimes we just fall from the straight and narrow and do mean, selfish or spiteful things. But sometimes we convince ourselves that we’re still good people even though we’re doing something wrong. We tell ourselves that there are some people whose motives are totally wicked or self-regarding: criminals, liars, cheats, two-timers, fraudsters, and so on, but we are not that kind of person. We’re basically good people who just indulge in an occasional misdemeanour. So, for example, there’s Noble Cause Corruption, a phrase first coined apparently in 1992 to explain why police officers, judges, politicians, managers, teachers, social workers and so on sometimes get sucked into justifying actions which are really totally wrong, but on the grounds that they are doing them for a very good reason. A famous instance of noble cause corruption is the statement, by the late Lord Denni…