Sunday, 13 January 2008

Pastor's Page: Pilgrim Warlfare

This is a short devotional formatted to fit a church bulletin page (in a large print font) which churches may freely reproduce, if the blog address is cited.

Stories are told of the Italian armies in WWII occupying some of the remote Greek islands (cf. Corelli's Mandolin). Political life in Italy was quite unsettled, and events turned so that some army units became isolated and abandoned for much of the war. Cut off from their top commanders, these Italians, who never were enthusiastic about Mussolini or Hitler, settled into daily village life and quickly forgot their status as soldiers of the Italian army. When British and American naval units arrived, the Italians didn't know whose side they were supposed to be on!

The Italians' assimilation into Greek life may have worked well for the Allies, but the same can not be said about Christians living in this old world.

St. Peter is fond of reminding us that we our pilgrims. Although we are God's "elect" people, he says that for now we are "strangers in the world" (1:1). In preaching this theme, Peter borrows exodus term-inology, telling us to "gird up the loins of our minds," as we prepare to move out of Egypt (1:13). He urges us to live our lives as strangers, not contenting our-selves with this world's trappings, since we have been rescued out of its darkness (1:17; 2:10). In 2:11, Peter appeals to us as pilgrims and strangers as the basis to abstain from this world's sinful desires.

Such desires "war against [your] soul," Peter says. In this war, we better know which side we're on!

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