Sunday, June 5, 2011

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

The reading from 1 Peter seems oddly disconnected from recent lectionary themes. What are we to make of this language of fiery ordeals and roaring lions during Easter season? It conjures up images of Joan of Arc, John Hus and others who met their ends in the cruel and literal flames of persecution. The language sounds ancient, like something that has nothing to do with me or with any of the people I serve.

I'm not even sure exactly what qualifies as a fiery ordeal. John Elliott writes that the most contextually relevant meaning of pyrosis (fiery ordeal) is the fiery process by which metal ore is separated from dross (1 Peter in the Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries). The author of 1 Peter sees innocent suffering as a divine test of faithfulness.

 

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