This week's lectionary selections offer us examples of what we all dream of: a chance at rebirth, a chance to be re-created, a chance to realize a new beginning.
That is what we all want, isn't it?
So much of what we do each day pushes in this direction.
In some way, most of us feel that some part of our life or some part of the world has gotten so far from its original intention and purpose that the only thing to do is to start over.
And today we try to accomplish this ourselves in a variety of ways. We knock down old buildings because we can no longer care for them, we buy the next size up of clothing because we cannot care for our bodies in the same way, we kill people to stop their intention and remove their opinion.
But....in many, maybe most cases, there is always a chance of redemption. Hardly ever is the path to rebirth and re-creation the easy one, but there is always an option to take that path.
What responsibility do we have to be reborn?
This week's psalmist shows us that we have some responsibility in our own salvation. He recognizes he is in great distress and suffering, and he has faith that God will save him, AND he recommits himself to God as God's servant. As he calls to God to be redeemed and re-created, he seems to know that he has some responsibility in faithfully walking in the direction of God.
In the passage we have from Luke we see Jesus (incognito) meeting up with some disciples on the road to Emmaus. The disciples were walking with their heads hung low because they had hoped Jesus would be the one to bring salvation and re-creation to the Jews, and at that point they had not seen any evidence of it. They were still looking toward some sort of military victory and political power surge. They expected salvation to come from outside of them. In their discussion Jesus chronicles all of the efforts of both God and humans throughout history. And when Jesus reveals himself to them, we can almost hear the collective hand hitting the forehead as the disciples said, "how did we not see who that was?!" It was not until they were given 'new vision' that they were able to really understand what was being shared with them.
In the portion of Acts we see this week Peter is explaining (to those who would listen) that Jesus is the Messiah. AND that forgiveness and rebirth and re-creation are available to all when they choose to repent from their corrupt ways.
In the passage from 1 Peter the writer explains to them that because of the work of God in and through Jesus, this community had come to trust in God themselves. What they do with that trust can change the world.