“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15b, NRSV)
One summer while in youth ministry, I had two different students have someone close to them pass away. For one student it was his grandfather, whom he was very close to who died right before the youth group went on the trip. The other student lost her father unexpectedly during the week.
I was a college student and had only been doing this youth ministry thing for a few years. There were no seminary classes yet completed that would have prepared me.
“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’. . . . Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’” (John 1:43, 45, NRSV)
When Megan and I first moved to Tidewater, we faced the challenge that so many people face when they move to a new area. Where do we take the car for repairs? What doctor should we use for our child? What restaurants should we avoid?
We asked around and people were happy to share their recommendations for auto shops, doctors, and restaurants.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10, NRSV)
My wife, Megan, was out of town.
“Immediately he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.” (Matthew 14:22, NRSV)
The first time we left our daughter longer than a couple of days I kept a straight face, but deep inside, I was a wreck. Megan and I went on a trip to Mexico, and our daughter stayed the week with my mom. And even though I knew she would be safe, cared for, and loved, I was still a wreck. “Will she be okay without us for this long?”
I can hear what you’re thinking, “Just wait until she goes to college.”
I’m not sure I can handle that.
“Then he said to his slaves,‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’” (Matthew 22:8-9, NRSV)
Sarah Cummins had spent over $30,000 on her perfect day before the Indiana woman canceled the wedding. Faced with the reality of a reception contract that could not be canceled, Cummins made the decision to invite the homeless to the wedding feast.