This evening the Daily Office Lectionary begins its trek through the epistle 1 Peter. As you may recall, 1 Peter is one of the three books that gets highlighted in the Epistle lesson slot during Eastertide in the Sunday Communion lectionary. It’s kind of neat that we get to read this book in the month of May, either to reinforce or contextualize the Sunday readings if it’s that year, or giving us the book’s coverage on the years that don’t touch upon it on Sundays.
The First Epistle of St. Peter is a sobering book to read; it deals plainly with the subject of enduring persecution, noting that many churches in the region of Cappadocia have already begun to experience that. As such, the letter looks keenly at the eschaton, the End of history, while acknowledging that the “Last Days” are already begun. The letter also looks firmly back, at Jesus Christ, firmly grounding the Christian’s identity in the completed work of Christ. Related to that, 1 Peter also contains one of the most strongly-worded teachings about Holy Baptism, if couched in one of the most difficult contexts in the entire New Testament. It even makes space for ethical and pastoral instruction.
In Year A of the Sunday Communion lectionary, the suffering-related texts tend to get omitted. It’s understandable, when choosing highlights to summarize the book in the Easter season. but still obviously a bit of a loss compared to the depth of the book itself. So the Daily Office, here, is where we really get to dig into this (and every) book. In an evangelical culture so used to focusing on the writings of St. Paul, a careful read of this book can be a refreshing perspective check. Enjoy it!