Dear Exiles - 1 Peter 1:1&2 - Quotes from Sunday
"Whether we are descended from Abraham as Peter was, or are Gentiles, as were most of those addressed by Peter, we share together the wonder of God’s amazing grace in Christ. The mystery of God’s choosing will always offend those who stand before God in pride. Forgetting their rebellion and guilt before God, they are ready to accuse him of favouritism. But those whom God’s love has drawn to Christ will always confess the wonder of his initiative in grace:” (Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter, IVP, 1988, 34).
In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” (C.S, Lewis, The Weight of Glory.)
Letter to Diognetus
For Christians are no different from other people in terms of their country, language or customs. Nowhere do they inhabit cities of their own, use a strange dialect, or live life out of the ordinary.… They live in their respective countries, but only as resident aliens; they participate in all things as citizens, and they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign territory is a homeland for them, every homeland foreign territory. They marry like everyone else and have children, but they do not expose them once they are born. They share their meals but not their sexual partners. They are found in the flesh but do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth but participate in the life of heaven. They are obedient to the laws that have been made, and by their own lives they supersede the laws. They love everyone and are persecuted by all. They are not understood and they are condemned. They are put to death and made alive. They are impoverished and make many rich. They lack all things and abound in everything. They are dishonored and they are exalted in their dishonors. (5:1–14 [LCL] https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0101.htm)
The persuasion of that alone makes the mind clear and serene, like your fairest summer days. My peace I give you, saith Christ, not as the world. Let not your hearts be troubled. All the peace and favour of the world cannot calm a troubled heart: but where this peace is which Christ gives, all the trouble and disquiet of the world cannot disturb it. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation or against a man only…A few hours of feasting will weary the most professed epicure; but a conscience thus at peace, is a continual feast, with continual, unwearied delight. (Rev. Robert Leighton, Practical Commentary upon the First Epistle General of Peter, Presbyterian Board of Publicans, 48).