As a break in the series on liturgy, I want to address some of the lectionary readings, but I will pull in the Collect (liturgical prayer with the theme for the day). For May 1, the Collect is:
Grant, almighty God, that we who have celebrated the mystery of the Lord’s resurrection may by the help of your grace bring forth the fruits thereof in our life and conduct; Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen (Lutheran Worship, p. 50)
The petition focuses on bringing forth the fruits of our new life in Christ; and the basis is the resurrection of Jesus.As we look forward to Pentecost Sunday, we realize that with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, we enter the end times.“This is what Joel said, ‘In the last days…’”
So how do we wait during the last days? It is tempting for some to get a calendar and “figure out everything that will happen and when.” But the New Testament does not point us in that direction (“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, hnor the Son, but the Father only” Matthew 24:36). Peter directs our attention on reality of the resurrection and the difference that makes as we wait during the last days. Peter builds on that resurrection hope (1 Peter 1:3) by reflecting on the “now-not yet” aspect of faith and hope (1 Peter 1:5-6). We are saved, right now, but we will be saved fully and finally when Jesus appears at the end, thus “obtaining the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:7).
Are we more concerned with how the latest earthquake fits into a scheme? Or are we growing in our faith and trust in God, looking forward to Jesus’ return? Perhaps in our confident hope, we can begin to see the opportunities to bring the hope of resurrection to those who have had no hope, to those who have been disillusioned by false hopes. They need this message of Peter even as we do.