In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Everybody is so angry. Watch the protests, read the articles and listen to the talk/argument shows… you’ll see what I mean. The ability to have loving, substantive dialogue with people of differing views seems to be a dying art. Meanwhile, by holding to historical Christian beliefs, our own views may be considered extreme by a growing number of people. In other words, we can expect that awkward or even angry situations may be on the rise, even in our own circles and lives.
Into that reality, I insert the above verse from the Apostle Peter. I believe that this verse, perhaps better than any other, states what our stance should be as we interact with an increasingly faith-less culture.
Keep in mind that when Peter wrote this verse, Christians were literally being killed for their beliefs. In other words, times may be tough, but the Church has lived and even thrived in times much tougher than these.
How? And what can we glean from the Apostle Peter’s instructions here? What did he teach us about being faithful in a faith-less and even hostile culture?
Christ’s Lordship – “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” The first step is to know who is really in charge. Who is the real lord, the real master, the true authority? It isn’t you. It isn’t me. It isn’t the academics or the celebrities or the politicians. It’s Jesus. We should revere him – a Biblical word that means to set aside as holy or to consecrate. He is unlike anyone else. He is unchallenged, unshaken, unafraid of any threat or challenge that can be thrown his way.
If we truly revere Jesus as Lord, we can take that edge out of our voice, we can stop grinding our teeth over every perceived threat or error. Jesus is still Lord, holy and almighty. He may weep at our human situation, but He is in no way threatened by it.
Our Confession - “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you
have.” Meanwhile, our unshaken faith in Christ as Lord should not lead to being passive in our faith and understanding. Nor can it lead to cultural apathy.
We have a hope beyond anything that can be found here on earth. We have a good reason for that hope. When we are asked, we should be prepared to give that reason. (Note: we aren’t shouting it at people who would rather not hear it, we are responding to people who have asked us to explain it – big difference there.) We have hope because we are loved and served by the God who created all of this, who exists out of time, who is not threatened by human failure or rebellion because He died to free us from these things. We have hope because we know his death and resurrection life have set us free from sin and death and fear. We have hope because our struggles are real, but they are temporary. Our future is secure. This is our confession.
Our Compassion – “But do this with gentleness and respect.” This confession of faith, unthreatened because Christ is Lord, reasonable because there is a good reason for our hope, should be shared in gentleness and respect.
No one likes being shouted at and no one likes being belittled. No matter how wrong you may think someone else is, insulting them or their way of thinking will not bring them around to yours. Just because they are wrong does not inevitably make you right. Instead, with gentleness and respect, with compassion and care, with tenderness and dignity, we must give an answer for the reason for the hope that we have.
And that answer is Christ the Lord – Christ born, Christ living, Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, Christ ascended, and Christ returning triumphant. Christ our Lord. We don’t have to be “culture warriors” – He was the ultimate culture warrior. He fought the war. He won it. His victory is now ours. Those who are misled are not our foes, they are fellow victims. They don’t need belittling sneers or lectures, they need compassionate care and tender truth.
Who could get angry at that?
Pastor Rob Morris
About Our Pastor Rob Morris:
Pastor Rob Morris has just celebrated his seventh year with us having moved here to Newtown on New Years Eve 2011. Pastor Rob comes to us having earned both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, MA.
Prior to serving at Christ the King, he was a full-time staff member at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Topsfield, MA, focusing on both the youth and worship ministries. In the Fall of 2011, he attended one semester at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Pastor Morris is joyfully married to his high school sweetheart, Christy, and July 2017 marked their 17th wedding anniversary. They have been entrusted with two wonderful boys, Elijah (who turned 11 in March of 2017) and Isaiah (who turned nine in January of 2018). As a family, they love to hike, bike, explore, read, and play music together.
In his free time, Pastor Morris loves reading, playing music (guitar, bass, drums, piano, and a smattering of other instruments), and both road and mountain biking.
Though the journey to serving at Christ the King was not a traditional one, Pastor Morris is excited to serve in such a warm and vibrant congregation. He says, “Christ the King is the perfect name for this ministry, for it is Christ who reigns by grace through his Word and Sacraments. It is also the perfect name because Christ’s reign is extended by the faithful service of his saints here at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, CT and around the world.”