1 Peter 1:13 (NRSV): 13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
Peter is writing to a Christian community that is struggling with persecution – as if often the case in the letters of the New Testament. Being a Christian wasn’t easy, but it was never suggested it would be. To the contrary, it was understood that being a Christian believer would often mean persecution, suffering, or even death.
I find it interesting that modern Christianity doesn’t generally offer an expectation that being a Christian will make one’s life more difficult. Instead in many American churches Jesus is offered as the means of attaining the good life. But overall interest, and participation in, church in America continues to decline. Conservative Christians blame progressive Christians and vice-versa. In some ways they’re both right. But pointing the finger at one another misses the point.
I personally believe Christianity has too closely aligned itself with secular political culture (on both the right and the left). We have been co-opted. The time is coming when we will need to re-establish our counter-cultural identity. Agitate for a kingdom that is not of this world. Be willing to be the skunk at the garden party (by the right and the left) much as the original readers of today’s verse were.
When we are too comfortable with an earthly home we have lost our way, which is why Peter writes in the future tense “set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed”. Lord bring us back to who we are in you. Amen.