1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I can’t remember where I heard it or who said it, but I recently heard someone share, “The worst thing in life is not being hungry or homeless. The worst thing in life is not having hope.” Hope is a powerful motivator, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances. The hope that life has the potential of getting better can give us the strength to endure the most seemingly hopeless situations. To not have hope is to be surrounded by darkness and despair.
In today’s reading from 1 Peter, Peter reminds us, “By God’s great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”(1:3b). As baptized children of God, we have been given the gift of hope. No longer is life simply a time-bound journey, bound on one side by our physical birth and on the other side by our physical death. Because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, life no long has the bounds it once had. Death is no longer a period at the end of our lives, but rather a comma, leading on to the eternal life God has fully prepared for us in Jesus. Such hope is not some cheap pie-in-the-sky hope that life on this earth will one day be replaced by a perfect life in heaven, but rather the solid, life-changing hope that because death has been overcome once and for all, we are free to live our lives fully, wholly, in the here and now. Ours is a hope that both frees us and compels us to challenge political systems that deny hope to the most vulnerable. Ours is a hope that both frees us and compels us to challenge the sins of racism, classism, sexism, and all other “isms” that take hope away from God’s good-created people. Ours is a hope that both frees us and compels us to share the inheritance we have been given, both our spiritual inheritance and our earthly inheritance, with future generations that they, too, might know the hope that is ours in Christ.
Because of our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, we no longer are the people we once were. We have been reborn. We have experienced a new birth. We have become people of hope. May that hope change how we live our lives today and forever.
Risen Lord, free me from all fear and despair that I might live in the hope that is now mine as a baptized child of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.