Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Aliens in the world, yet no longer alien

As I was riding my bike along the single-lane Redfern street today, I noticed bus coming up behind me quite quickly. So I stepped on it and pedalled as fast as I could so that I wouldn't be holding the bus driver up. It was pretty fun. As I got to the set of traffic lights, I noticed as the bus came up beside me the driver was opening the window to say something to me.
"Race ya!" he said with a smile
This was nice, we're about to have a small bonding experience. I laughed and was about to say something, when he gave this crude laugh and said "I'll race ya to her!", and nodded towards a girl walking up the street.
Dang. Suddenly I can't relate to this guy anymore. I found that kind of talk disgusting. I didn't know what to say, so I just moved a bit further on my bike, so I didn't have to look at him and converse any longer.

1 Peter is comforting for the Christian in these moments. The main theme is Christians living in an non-Christian environment, and Peter reassures us that we are aliens in the world (2:11), and our hope rests on the inheritance given through the resurrection of Christ. This enables us to rejoice as we persevere in suffering (Granted, for some that suffering is an awkward moment at traffic lights, but nevertheless...).

However, at the same time Ephesians encourages us that as Gentiles we are no longer aliens. Once we were cut off from the people of God, but now through the blood of the Messiah we are no longer foreigners to the covenants of the promise (2:11-13).

There is a 'now and not-yet' theme going on here. Ephesians looks at what we have received in Christ now, 1 Peter is urging us to focus on what we will receive when Christ returns in glory. We can take comfort knowing that we are aliens in the world, yet no longer alien.

No comments: