exiled, scattered, chosen

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I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.  May everything good from God be yours!  (1 Peter 1:1-2)

Peter describes our situation today quite well: exiles, scattered… and chosen! Not much has changed in regard to the circumstances of the followers of Jesus. We live in a world which readily reminds us that we are exiles — we are not in our homeland, we are indeed far from home, as Paul reminds us that we are in fact citizens of heaven waiting for the arrival of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). No wonder the world seems so other than what we have been created and redeemed by God for: His coming Kingdom. In this sense we are alien, and the things of this world are often alien to us, strange, distant.

We often feel like seed scattered and so we are, “…to the four winds” (v. 1). As the people of God, we are scattered across the globe, generously spread by the sower who casts us to the ends of the earth for the sake of those who do not yet know Him, that we may blossom and bloom so God’s Word and life will be on display to others. There are Christians fleeing Ukraine, who for now are being scattered into other nations, again like the seeds of God’s Word, to bear much and mighty fruit for God. And though at times we feel as if our lives — exiled and scattered — amount to very little, we are reminded by the prophet:

The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers wilt,
God’s Word goes on and on forever.  (Isaiah 40:7-8)

Though our old lives are grass life and short-lived as wildflowers, the Word of God in us, bringing forth new life, will go on forever! Which brings us to the final description of our situation: 1) exiles, 2) scattered, and 3) chosen, or as stated above, “…not one is missing, not one forgotten…” God’s purposes are being played out in glorious now and not yet ways. The exile, the scattering, and the belonging to God are all part of His determined work in our lives to bring about a life stayed-put in Jesus, sprinkled with His blood — His sacrifice for our salvation.

Being chosen, by the way, is the cause of being exiled and scattered — all three a will and work of God for His good pleasure, as He works all thing for good because o the great love with which He loves us and for the sake of displaying His grace and salvation to the world.

These three remain together as long as we are in this world, sent by Jesus for the purpose that many come to believe. Exiled, scattered, and chosen — a sacred trinity of hope for the sake of the world. And as we continue our Lenten journey toward the cross, through the grave, and into the Light of Resurrection, may God’s grace and peace be ours in the fullest measure, or as Peter states at the end of his greeting: May everything good from God be yours!

Pastor Jon