1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter addresses these words to the elect exiles – even those exiled from their church buildings? Of course. I have been wondering what church will look like after this is all over. They say that the children whose early elementary education has been disrupted by Corona will be called Generation C. Dr. Fauci says that we will have to stop greeting one another with a handshake. Will I stand at the door of the church and bump elbows with my parishioners? Will we have to limit our services to a certain number of people? The ancient church had doorkeepers called “Janitors.” They were not responsible for cleaning but for keeping out the unbaptized from the Eucharistic services. Will they now stand there with a clicker in hand to make sure the service doesn’t go over the prescribed maximum for our building? Will health inspection certificates replace the fire marshal’s maximum occupancy note which is posted in the back of most sanctuaries?
In these times of upheaval and change Peter draws our attention to something very important. Our hopeful expectation is that through the resurrection of Jesus we receive an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. We can rejoice in that, even if now we are grieved. It is hard. We do not see the Lord but must wait for him to be revealed. But though we cannot see him, we love him, trust him, and rejoice in an inexpressible joy. Like a tree which draws moisture from a hidden source, we have joy even in bleak times.
Our times are in his very capable hands. I do not know how it will work out. But Jesus has promised that his church shall never pass away until the last day. We can look forward to what he has in store for us.