September 11, 2013 marked 40 years since Chilean President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a military coup, beginning a long period of human rights abuses. This year’s commemoration was particularly soul-wrenching. The deep, unhealed wounds and divisions in society were very apparent, as was the need for a more complete reconciliation process, including uncovering the truth, recognizing error, amending situations as much as possible, and requesting and granting forgiveness. The testimonies made me search my heart’s attitudes.
Multiple phrases in today’s readings reflect these historic events. The lying and deception, the groaning of the needy and the strutting of the wicked in Psalm 12, and the atheism and corruption in Psalm 14 are just a couple of examples. How different history would have been if people had heeded God’s Word and walked according to His Law!
Of course, the bad news is that no one does this; there is no one who does good, not even one. There is good news though! One exception exists: Jesus, the one Peter refers to as our Lord and Savior. Earlier in his letter Peter recalled that the Father testified that He was well pleased with Jesus His Son. In his first epistle, Peter wrote that Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the cross. We believe that he was able to do this precisely because of His perfect obedience to the Father. Our response, if we have been given new birth, should be to die to sins and live for righteousness. In today’s reading, Peter wants to stimulate in us wholesome thinking. How? We must recall the prophets’ words and our Lord’s command, in light of the Second Coming and the attendant judgment and destruction of the ungodly. Wholesome thinking also considers that God gives time for everyone to repent.
Even as the state of society troubles me, so does my own life. Neither society nor I meet God’s perfect standard as found in the law. This realization drives us to Jesus. He is our only hope since He is coming back as a thief in the night to lay bare everything done on Earth.
Help us to think wholesomely, turning to Jesus, our only hope.
The Rev. Russ Ewing Smith (MDiv 1984)
Iglesia Anglicana Del Salvador, San Joaquin, Santiago, Chile