Read the text below, preferably aloud. As you hear the word, “listen with the ear of your heart” for a word or short phrase that God has for you this day.
1 Peter 3:18-22
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Ruminate on the Word, turning it over in your heart and mind. What does the word or phrase you have chosen mean to you today?
As I listen to this Scripture passage, I hear the word “you” echoing loudly, twice – in verse 18 and again in verse 21. Christ’s suffered to bring [me] to God. Baptism saves [me]! I am thankful for the awesomeness and caring nature of God, who became incarnate in human flesh, and offered himself for my behalf and your behalf. Christ Jesus endured the shame of a common criminal’s execution, and overcame the sting of death. He went to the place of departed spirits and proclaimed to all who had fallen asleep before his coming that all might know and receive his salvation. And now, by virtue of my baptism and your baptism and our neighbor’s baptism into that same death and burial, we too are made alive to rise with him in the glorious resurrection from the grave. This is the good news – Christ Jesus lives and reigns “at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him”. This is truly awesome, for we need not focus on what happened to Jesus in the transcendent world after his death, but truly hearing the pronoun “you”, points us to thankfulness and discipleship in knowing that God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself. Thank you, Lord, thank you.
– Fr Kirtley Yearwood
© Harrowing of Hell, Suzanne Moore, 2011. The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.