1 Peter 3:13-22

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I find this text

strange, awkward, and

legalistically unintelligible reading,

to say the least…

Baptism saves us?

Dirt from the flesh?

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts?

Concepts I’ve never actually fully understood.

1st century, Greco-Roman- Near-Eastern metaphors at their finest.

So many ministers,



base their understandings

of God

on these

and other arcane notions of


they think God works.

Still, re-reading,

there is wisdom in this text.

We are given insights

into the struggle

of the early church

that relate to our own time.

We have had people

try to intimidate us

because we believe

differently than they.

Many of us

have been made to feel afraid

because of

something we have spoken out

against —

racism, homophobia, economic justice.

Try speaking in favor of

love over hate, or

the overwhelming power

of a peaceful heart

in a conversation justifying


and war and violence

at any cost.

Interspersed with the

obscure theological concepts

is a strong message of blessing.

While it is never a good thing to suffer,

we are told that if

it is to happen

it is better to suffer for

doing good than for

doing bad.

The point

being that there is blessing in the one

and only suffering in the other.

The writer of this text offers blessing and hope,

but in ways hard to grasp by 21st century minds,

Yet for us,

what is it that offers us courage

in our own time?

Where do we find our strength

in our own time?

How does God/Christ/Jesus/Spirit

bless us

as we proclaim the love of Jesus to our world?

Do we proclaim

the love of Jesus

to our world?


When God Happens

Acts 2:42-47

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Hearts burning within.

Hearts aflame with God,

with hate, with forgiveness.

Grace in action,

or what Carter Hayward calls

“godding”, making God present —

for others, for ourselves.

Stephen paid a price,

his life, for godding.

The saying popular right now is,

haters gonna hate,

and while it is true,

we also need to know that

lovers gonna love and

godders gonna god.

There’s more of us,


The Sixties slogan,

make love not war,

for me has morphed into,

make God not fear.

How will we make God this week?

How will we change ugly situations

into situations filled

with God and grace?

AND what price

are we willing to pay to do that?

There are costs for this:

pride, ego, self-righteousness,

being the odd, weird, misunderstood one,

being ignored.

Godding costs,

but it also rewards.

How can you say that being

God’s presence

in our world

is not worth whatever cost?

When we are faced

with anger and hate

and what is ugly

remember to god —

let God be present and seen.

Light has shown in our darkness

let us be that light for others.

Go forth this week and be God,

have courage…


Highlighting the Gospel

Acts 2:42-47

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Everyone was in awe.

All those wonders and signs.

All the wonders and signs around us.

Done by us.

Shared by us.

I think we discount

ourselves too much,

and so we never really,


share what WE do.

And because of false modesty

and cultural conditioning

we hardly ever get to share in

those wonders and signs around us

that the ones around us

do so miraculously well.



are those apostles.



are those wonder-workers.



are all that God has to do these works

of signs and wonders.

AND we,


are doing what needs to be done.


I stand in awe as I witness the

signs and wonders

God does through each and every one of you.



In the Bread

Luke 24: 13-35

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved


Taking the bread.

Open-eyed, wide-eyed.

They recognized him.

This reading

always chokes me up

a little.

I carry this with me.

I hold this in my heart of hearts

every time I break the bread

at the table.

It isn’t so hard to break the bread.

It is hard to do the recognizing.

Recognize the one who arose.

Recognize the one who

continually confounds us

with grace and presence.

I want to see Jesus.

I want to find him,

and you know, I do look,

yet it seems

I look either where

Jesus has just been, or

not yet arrived.

And then. And then.

And then I break bread.

And then I look up.

And then I see

the other expectant eyes

who are looking as well,

seeking for this salvation we

call the risen Jesus,

and together,

taking the bread,

open-eyed, wide-eyed

we recognize him —

in the bread, in the cup,

in each other.