Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
1 Peter 3:13-17
13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.
In the vow of membership in the United Methodist Church, we vow to uphold the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. This passage from 1 Peter speaks directly to our witness. When it comes to bearing witness to our faith, that is sharing what our faith means to us in our lives, how should we do that?
The very idea of witnessing is scary for many—I would say most—people. Part of the reason is the feeling of having to make sure all the words are just right. Part of the reason is the fear of rejection. Part of the reason is having been the recipient of someone’s faith-sharing that felt more like an attack than sharing the love and grace of God.
That’s where these words from 1 Peter really speak to us: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you and accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”
Faith-sharing is just “accounting for the hope that is in you” and it must always be done with gentleness and reverence.” How have you experienced someone sharing their faith with you in a helpful way? How have you experienced telling your own faith story?
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster