BE WITHOUT BLEMISH . . . And be worthy through our Lord

“Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things *, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (II Peter 3:14-15a from II Peter 3:1-18 [* Insert mine] )

* There will be a coming of the day of the Lord, when all things will be dissolved by the same word by the Creator who made them come into being. And this day is unknown to humanity but known by God. However God stays the Divine hand not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to new life in God. God has and will create a place for the Lord’s faithful to live, and all of this is worthy of the wait. (Paraphrase of verses 5-13)

Now that we can see this verse in context, let me turn away for a moment and discuss something else entirely. Each year I use a salutation in addressing you, my readers. I favor “gentle reader” and have used it with consistency this year. It is not the first year I have done so.

Looking into the New Year and the theme for 2014 I decided I wanted to use a different salutation, and had thought “Beloved” might work well. But then I started having second thoughts – until I read today’s verses. The writer of II Peter says this is the second letter he/she had written to the reader(s) and I am assuming feels enough connection to them to refer to them as beloved, and several times throughout the letter. As I have been writing for many years it seems, I thought maybe the time had come to express my care for all those who read this postings, and “beloved” seemed good to my ears and heart.

It may seem strange that I call you “Beloved” without knowing you and, when it comes right down to it, not knowing if you are worthy of the name “Beloved”. The writer of II Peter (yes, I am turning toward the verses now) exhorts his/her readers to be worthy of the special dwelling place that God is preparing/has prepared (the actions of the Divine are not accomplished according to human tenses and time spans). But salvation redeems us all, and if God is waiting for all who can be redeemed to be redeemed and has already given us Christ who is our redemption, then we all are – in God’s eyes – beloved. And if God already considers all of you beloved, then I do also. God’s love is unconditional, and I as much as humanly possible follow that mandate too. Right relationship, justice, and shalom. Our watchwords for this year influence (and rightly so) all of our actions.

It is my hope and prayer, gentle reader (and beloved) that you are and will continue to be without spot or blemish as we wait for the day of the Lord. Selah! And shalom for your day.