Lectionary Reading: 1 Peter 2:2-10 (NRSV)
I like how the author speaks of growing into salvation in verse two. So many times we speak of salvation as an event done by Jesus on our behalf or we speak of it as a moment in which we cross over from damned to blessed.
While these popular usages attempt to define our theology, they may also be limiting for how God works in people’s lives. Growing into salvation implies a process. This fits with the Wesleyan idea of sanctifying grace in which we grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
As I consider my own growth as a Christian, much of it stemmed from the narrative my mother would share. These were stories of my very young childhood that would get repeated as part of the family lore. I heard them countless times growing up so that they began to shape me through their telling.
For example, once my siblings and I all received full-sized candy bars for a treat (this was unusual and the reasons are now lost). I gobbled mine down and my older sister Becky saved hers for later. When she finally got around to eating it (I think it was a Three Musketeers), I asked her for a bite. She replied, “No, Sam, you already ate yours!” I paused for a bit and asked her, “Becky, remember sharing?” Of course, I couldn’t pronounce the letter “r” and so it came out, “Becky, wemember shaiwwing?” This was a lesson the older family members were trying to ingrain in me. She groaned and gave me a bite.
This story helped me to understand that cunning and creativity are better pursuits for getting what you want than whining or throwing a fit. One could argue that this was more about manipulation than it was about learning to share. However, it also taught an important lesson from my sister. The value of sharing is more important than the irritation you obviously feel from a little brother.
It taught me that sharing is what we should pursue even if a person is taking advantage. If my fundamental nature is to share, then a person cannot take advantage of me.
This is the very nature of grace that we receive in Christ Jesus. It is something I learned a little bit at a time through these important women in my life. I hope that you will take the time to reflect upon the life-giving things your own mother did for you this week as we approach Mother’s Day. I recognize that some have an easier time of this than others but any difficulty with this meditation may end with fruit and blessing for you.
I give thanks to God for my own “growth in salvation” and for my mom’s hand in it.
Check out Sam’s Blog here: http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com/
Photo by Timothy Vogel via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.