Sunday, November 02, 2003

Practical Application 201

(Jordanization of Life)

As I’ve been thinking through my Jordan reading and trying to make a Jordanizational application to Sunday night Teen Bible Study with the girls, I was
reminded of a particular exercise my high school English teacher had the class do. The point I have long since forgotten—I could take a few semi-educated stabs—but what I do remember is the following directions part. She brought in some sliced bread, a jar each of peanut butter and jelly, and a knife. One person was to explain to another the steps and procedure of making a PB&J, while the other was to follow those direction to the letter. It was a lot of fun to play with an extreme literalist taking orders from an extreme control freak!

So as I thought through Sunday’s lesson on I Peter 5 in light of what Wendy and I had talked to the girls about last week—taking each passage in context and paying heed to the details—I determined to go through the bread spreading exercise with the girls. I Peter deals a lot with authority and accountability, from ecclesiastical and civil to covenantal and marital, Peter ties them all together with the example of Christ’s bi-embodiment of leadership and submission. Since relating to and with authority happens on a daily basis, it is also a good example in and of itself for Peter’s address to suffering. He is constantly saying things like “do not be caught off guard”, “be prepared”, “be ready to give an account”, “do not be surprised” while at the same time exhorting them to honorable conduct, good deeds, unity of mind, brotherly love. He’s telling them to be prepared by keeping up the ordinary means of life. He’s urging them to continue in tenderness of heart and humility of mind, he’s reminding them to be self-controlled and sober-minded. He’s calling to mind the simplicity of covenant community by encouraging hospitality and the stewardship of gifts in useful service for the saints. To what end—“in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”. These are the details that by skimming over cause us to misconstrue what we often take as the bigger picture. In this case the issues of authority and suffering were brought into such clearer light because I tend to over-spiritualize and hyper-analyze anything that looks to be a big picture idea in Scripture.

I brought a bag of bread, a jar each of peanut butter and jelly, along with a knife. All I said after explaining the exercise is, “I’m investing Rachel with the authority to give Meg directions on how to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich”. I didn’t say anything else as we all laughed hysterically at the end result—PB&J neatly spread all over the out side of the bread bag—but then every one shook there heads. “I see what God’s saying,” someone piped up. And I think it became a little clearer than jelly to me too.

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