On August 2, Beijing Fengtai Church held its first in-person gathering after it was closed months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following local health requirements, they held three services on Sunday morning and one in the evening.
In two services, Pastor Liu Haibo shared the message of "Seeing Good Days” with the congregation, based on 1 Peter 3:8-12.
The pastor shared that when Peter wrote his two epistles, the Christians had encountered a sudden catastrophe, not a natural disaster, but accusation and persecution from Emperor Nero. Under such circumstances, Peter wrote these two letters to encourage the believers. He shared that the suffering they were enduring would eventually be transformed into glory, because Christ had suffered for us, and he was finally glorified.
Interpreting "Whoever would love life and see good days," Liu asked if a Christian could see good days when suffering so much. The real blessing is not peace, well-being, health, or living free from disaster, but a living hope to live as strangers beyond the circumstances.
Although we cannot change our environment, with suffering in front of us, we believe that the Lord still sits as King despite the flood. In a harsh environment, Christians still can see the good days in the middle of a catastrophe.
If we want to enjoy good fortune, we should do our duty. As we worship peacefully today, believing that God is protecting us, we must wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Peter said that we could experience the blessings and grace of God and maintain a good relationship with others in the church.
Be one with believers. It was also what Jesus prayed for his disciples at that time, hoping that believers would be one in spirit. In the pandemic, we find that our lives are so fragile that we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, however, we still want a satisfactory result of arguing about everything in the world. The key point of our lives is to lift up Christ, live out Christ, preach Christ, and give witness to Christ with one accord.
Be sympathetic to each other. We should be more considerate of others, and stand in the shoes of others when we consider problems. Compassion is one of the characteristics of a Christian, and God is also compassionate to us. He was crucified for us because he sympathized for our weakness. In the church, we must rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
Love as brothers. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. ”(1 John 3:15) God is love and has given the life of love to us. We must live out love and express our love to brothers and sisters. Even though the brothers and sisters are not so cute and have many imperfections and inadequacy, we still have to love them with the love of Jesus. This is Jesus’ command to us.
Be compassionate and humble. The humility of Jesus is an example for us to follow. In real life, it is difficult for us to be humble. Christians should reflect in this sudden pandemic: What is man? A small invisible virus can disrupt the entire world. We humans really can't. We need to be truly humble before God to admit our weakness. So we should rely on God, seek God, and look to God.
Next, Peter said what we couldn’t do: "Don't repay evil with evil, or insult with insult." David experienced so many grievances, sufferings, and persecution, but every time he experienced the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord was with him. Even though we have grievances, difficulties, and weaknesses at this moment, we are powerless in the face of the environment, and we don't know where to go, the only thing we need to know is that the Lord's eyes are on the righteous, and the Lord's ears are attentive to our prayers. He may take care of us and protect us.
- Translated by Abigail Wu