Longing for Home: An Advent Journey, 2016 — Day Thirteen


Psalm 146:5-10
Ruth 4:13-17
2 Peter 3:11-18

2 Peter 3:11-18

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Seems like it might be a good idea about now to reflect on a scripture that centers on that ‘third’ Advent I mentioned earlier in this series: the end of days, when Christ will come in triumph.

Peter describes it graphically as a time of cleansing by fire, the creation of a new heaven and a new earth — and I LOVE this phrase: “A place where righteousness is at home.” Isn’t that we all long for, truly? It’s one reason I titled this year’s Advent Journey, ‘Longing for Home.’ I do believe there is a deep yearning within us all for a place where righteousness ‘is at home.’ 

So Peter asks the right question here, I think. If that’s what we’re waiting for, how shall we live in the meantime? And I like his answer. (I especially like his comments on Paul, don’t you?? Love this tiny insight into their personal relationship and Peter’s ‘take’ on some of Paul’s more convoluted writing!) 

First of all, we are to live lives of holiness and godliness — and apparently, doing so might actually hasten that great day for which we wait. That’s a remarkable thing to say, isn’t it? And then he goes on to a more detailed description of the kind of people we should seek to be: 

    at peace
   without spot or blemish
   regarding the ‘patience of our Lord as our salvation’ (that’s a new idea!)
   not carried away with the ‘error of the lawless’
   not losing our stability
   growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

That’s what I call a list! I don’t begin to understand all of what this list means, much less how we are to accomplish it, but I like it. A lot. These are all qualities I think any serious follower-after-Jesus wants to see grow within them. Which one stands out to you?

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  1. I can’t choose just one, Diana, as they are all so appealing. But I think if we focus on the last one, all the others will fall right into place.

  2. Elaine Byer Reed says

    The qualities that impressed me at this time were —

    that I not be carried away with the ‘error of the lawless’
    not losing our stability growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    There is so much conflicting information coming at us. It is so confusing because we don’t know what to believe. I need to remember to see it all through the love of Jesus Christ.

    • Several people have selected stability from this list. Interesting to me. I think you’ve hit on why — we are absolutely surrounded with misinformation all around us, on a variety of topics. Staying centered on what we KNOW to be true can be really difficult in light of that truth. Thanks for sharing your insight here, Elaine.

  3. The quality of stability very much appeals to me. Sometimes I wobble. Not that I lose my faith, but I allow worry and fear to occupy my thoughts. No matter what happens, no matter what news breaks, I long to stand strong and stable with unfailing trust in God, praising and thanking him in all things as Paul also instructed. Lord, help me! Thank you, Diana, for fleshing out this scripture for us!

    • I think we all have to deal with anxiety in all its forms, Nancy. And I think that’s pretty much par for the course! Especially as we age and become much more viscerally aware of the limitations that come with being human. Take a deep breath, try the Jesus prayer (or buy some prayer beads from the Episcopalian nuns in DeKoven, Wisconsin – they’re gorgeous). I find these to be the most effective tools when the anxious moments rise up. So prayer for stability is wise thing, seems to me.