Father Ola on 1 Peter 3

Yes, so … reading from 1 Peter 3:

“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all the righteous, for the unrighteous in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit in which he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey when God waited patiently in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is eight persons, were saved through water and baptism, which this prefigured now saves you not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”

(1 Peter 3:18-22)

Thanks be to God.

Oh, that’s not what you say, is it?

Anyway, what to make of this? I think this is a tremendously difficult text. I don’t think it’s an impossible text to actually squeeze something good from, I think it could be potentially very important text, but I would say that now, since we’ve entered Lent this period of withdrawal perhaps, or concentration or focus, focusing on what really matters in life or fasting, which I recommend for many reasons. In Swedish, that period of land is called period of fasting.

Anyway, what most people do in land is that they abstain from something, try to abstain from something, and what I think we should try and abstain from this year is this attempt or this obsession – I would always say it’s a cultural obsession – to try and understand everything ‘up here’, And that goes for reading the Bibles as well. I think now during this period, this Lent period, we should abstain from trying to understand the gospels ‘up here’. Instead, we should focusing on the very heart of faith, which is faith and not thinking, not figuring it out.

Because faith is learning to trust. It’s a process and it’s also a goal, but it is a process of learning to trust God, learning to walk through the world in a cloud of unknowing, trusting in the voice, the inner voice of your master, trusting that you will reach your goal and the voice that you hear is your master’s voice.

Learning to trust God. I think that is the very core of faith and I think that is what we should concentrate on. Also, when reading this text, I think we should have that in mind, that if we don’t fully understand what Paul is trying to say here, or Peter is trying to say, that’s absolutely fine. The text, it might actually impact you even though you don’t understand it ‘here’.

Just like the way poetry works, you read it, you don’t necessarily understand it, you feel it. You can sort of get a hint. You can sort of sense that there is something there that you recognise but you don’t, don’t understand it. That is how you should approach texts in this period, and I think this is how you should approach life in this period of Lent.

That’s my thoughts on this difficult text from Peter. Bye.

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First broadcast on www.thesundayeucharist.com

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