Good morning and welcome to Wednesday. My name is Alan and we have made it half way through the week.
As lock down begins to lift I wonder how are our relationships with those around us?
How are we doing with those we live with? How are our relationships with our work colleagues? How about with our neighbours?
As a family we have started new routines during lockdown. We gather to worship and pray each morning and we take weekly walks together.
For us Wards our connections on our street are going really well. This is the strongest sense of community that I have felt with our neighbours that I can remember since arriving in Sheffield 26 years ago. And I know that this sense of community is blessing others.
We’ve had the privilege of inviting a neighbour on to the Alpha course that James Brown and Elle are currently hosting online.
God is good and he is as busy as ever, he’s not restricted by lockdown, far from it! As the song ‘Waymaker’ says, even when we don’t see it you’re working!
So I am expectant that as lockdown lifts we will see God using us like never before. Today’s passage is 2 peter 1:12-21. Listen to verses 16-18 now.
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
Let’s take a moment to remember just who is writing this letter – the clue is in the name of the letter: Peter!
Yes, this letter was written by Simon Peter himself. You know the one, the hot headed guy who denied Jesus, the one who climbed the mountain with Jesus, who saw him transfigured… glowing and glorious with Elijah and Moses. One of the disciples who was there with Jesus throughout his ministry.
But he didn’t have all the answers… he wasn’t as well schooled as the Rabbis and the teachers of the law. He hadn’t been to bible college. He didn’t have a degree. He simply shared with them what he had seen, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty!
Peter knew the stories of God found in the Old Testament. He was familiar with the exploits of King David, he knew the story of Moses and the parting of the red sea. He celebrated the festivals, he went to synagogue, he knew the songs, he prayed to God but it was not enough.
He was challenged by politics of his day. He saw that things needed to change. He wanted to be part of the transformation of the nation. Peter longed for God to do something in his time… in his day!
So Jesus chose him, took him from his simple life of fishing and trained him. He chose him as his little rock – the rock on which Jesus would build his church.
Sure he had his moments where he questioned, when he questioned if God could use him. He heard Jesus rebuke him telling him to “get behind me satan!” He rejected Jesus in Jesus’ darkest moment. He thought he’d failed. He had to battle the voice of the enemy. He thought he was disqualified from being used by God…
But God dusted him down, reminded him of who he was… not a failure but a work in progress. Not perfect but a child of God. And he used him powerfully.
And here he is, approaching the end of his life telling his readers about his mission to them. V16…
“For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
He didn’t spin a yarn… he wasn’t clever… Just an eyewitness to his – to Jesus’ – majesty. He had seen God at work… and he simply told people about it.
So what about us? How about you and I?
We know the stories of God’s activity as found in the bible. We know the stories of King David, of Moses, of Jesus, Peter and his friends. We celebrate Easter and Christmas. We go to church – even if it is only online at the moment! We pray…
But do we long for more? Are we moved to ask for God to move powerfully today? Are we challenged by the politics of this moment?, do we see things in our society that need to change? Do we hear God’s whisper, do we sense his call? We have been chosen, we have been set apart to be part of the solution!
God has chosen us. He has armed us with a story of love, of grace, of forgiveness and transformation… yes, the stories found in the scriptures but more than that, we are eyewitnesses of his majesty in our own lives and the lives of those around us. We have seen lives transformed, we have seen families come to faith. We have seen broken lives restored. We have seen communities care and support one another through hard times. We have been part of the precious community that is STC… a small yet significant expression of the body of Christ.
It may still be many months before we get back in our buildings and can worship together in a way that has any resemblance to what we knew before lockdown, but God’s church is alive and well. We don’t have to sit around and wait. We, like Peter, are participators in the divine nature, we are eyewitnesses of his majesty and we are surrounded by opportunities to tell our simple stories to those around us.
So today, let’s breathe in God, let us remember who we are, and let’s push out searching for opportunities to share our stories. Let’s not be content to remember the stories of old. Let’s live a new adventure with God today.
Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for the bible, thank you for church and thank you for the festivals and celebrations. But father never let us be content with the stories of old. Help us to write new God stories every day with our lives lived simply for you. Give us opportunity after opportunity to share our eyewitness stories of his majesty, for the sake of your son Jesus. Amen.
BIBLE READING: 2 Peter 1:12-21 (NIV)
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.