CDPCKL · The Doors of Perception (1 Peter 1:1-2)

The Doors of Perception (1 Peter 1:1-2)

In the beginning, we are told, God created the heavens and the earth.

And we are not told many details about the life that exists in other parts of the universe, because the Christian bible is the story of God’s relationship with the earth in particular.

And that is why, when we catch our first glimpse of the earth, we find that it is formless and empty: without life. The vision we are given is of a nameless, lifeless planet floating lost in the darkness.

But, we are told, the Spirit of God — the living Breath of God — was hovering over the dark waters of the primordial universe.

And the picture here is of the Spirit as a mother hen brooding upon the universe as if it were an egg: aware of the earth waiting there in the depths, protecting it from all the primordial forces at work in the chaos: galaxies and super-novae and black holes and other, deeper, darker things that could swallow the earth like a grain of sand and not even notice it happened.

And then, we are told, God drew in his living Breath, and breathed it out, and spoke a living Word: “Let there be light.” And there was light.

And through that Word, life came to our lifeless earth. And, we are told, God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”

And so, from the very beginning, we see that God brought life to the earth by separating things: by setting up boundaries between light and darkness, between skies and seas, between dry lands and the surrounding oceans — between central order and outer chaos.

In short, God created the world by separating diverse parts and then recombining those parts in perfect balance.

He even did this in his creation of mankind: male and female, diverse but unified, each one half of a whole, designed so that when they recombined into one whole, Life comes into being.

And by doing this, God was actually shaping the diversity of the earth to reflect the diversity that exists within himself. Earthly life was created through the eternally living Word carried upon the eternally living Spirit of the eternally living Father, and the diversity of that beautifully balanced Trinity is supposed to be reflected in the balanced diversity of our living earth.

But if you know the story of mankind in the bible, then you know that our earliest parents rebelled against the diversity and balance of God’s creation. They rejected God’s life-giving Word, and tried to speak a creative word of their own: they tried to remake reality in their own image.

Now, they were encouraged in their rebellion by another creature, nicknamed Satan, who had already rebelled against God’s order for creation — but we will talk more about that creature later on in this series.


Because Adam and Eve rejected the perfect diversity and balance of the garden at the center of God’s creation, they ended up being exiled from that center: they ended up on the fringes of God’s reality, in the wilderness outside the garden. And there they discovered that, apart from God’s Word, their own words did not have the same creative power over reality. They discovered that reality would only respond properly to them if they matched their voices with God’s voice; but if they continued to speak their own words in their own way, without regard for God’s Word, then the earth cried out against them and rebelled against them just as they had rebelled against God.

So at that point, some of the sons of Adam decided to re-submit themselves to God’s Word, to God’s reality, to God’s image. But others discovered that their words still had the power to create an illusion of reality. And these rebellious sons quickly discovered that this illusion becomes much much stronger when it is concentrated into centres of power. So they built cities: artificial centres where they could shape reality after their own image.

And so, very early on in the story of mankind, another separation took place between the light and the darkness:

On the one hand there were the sons of God who tried to live in cooperation with the diversity and balance God had built into the earth. Their vision of the future was a world-wide garden where all the diversity of creation would live in perfect balance under the rule of God.

But on the other hand there were the sons of Man who continued in their rebellion against God’s diversity and balance. Their vision of the future was a world-wide city where diversity is always accompanied by inequality, where balance is always accompanied by enforced uniformity.

And so, we are told, a war began between the sons of God on one hand, and the sons of Man on the other hand; between the garden planted by God and the city built by Man. And, according to the bible, this war between the City of Man and the Garden of God has defined human history from the beginning until now. From the beginning, mankind has been caught up in a war of competing realities. The sons of God have always insisted that the City of Man is ultimately an illusion; the sons of the cities have always insisted that no, it is the Garden of God that is the illusion.

And part of the reason this war has gone on for so long is because the illusion of the City of Man looks and feels so real. And this is because, from the very beginning, the very first city-builders enforced their illusion with violence. Just like Satan, they began with fine and persuasive words. But then, when words were not enough, they turned to physical brutality. And the rest of mankind quickly learned that, if they refused to submit to the city-builders’ verbal commands — if they refused to submit to the city-builders’ illusion of reality — then they would die.

And the thing about death is this: it is not an illusion. Death is very very real. And so, even though most of mankind has always been able to see through the illusion that is the City of Man, most of mankind has submitted willingly to that illusion because of the fear of death — which is not an illusion.

We could summarize the whole situation like this: the Garden of God, the Word of God, is still the only power that can truly create Life. But very early on, the City of Man seized power over Death. And in our world, the power of Death seems stronger than the power of Life. Therefore, from the very beginning of this war, the City of Man has appeared stronger and more real than the Garden of God.

Now, the reason I am going into all this background is so that we can properly understand this first letter Peter wrote to the churches almost 2000 years ago.

See: the way we modern people think about reality is very, very different than the way Peter thought about reality. We are all products of our cultures, and our cultures are products of our languages. Satan, the deceiver, was actually right: just as God’s Word has the power to create reality, our words have the power to reshape reality — or, at least, our perception of reality. And then our reshaping of reality actually turns around and reshapes our words in the next generation, which reshapes reality again, which reshapes our language again…and this is how cultural change happens over the centuries. And this is why human culture is woven so tightly together with language.

Here, in the 21st century, we have grown up using certain words, which have created certain categories in our minds, which have resulted in a certain perception of reality. If we try to read Peter’s letters through our modern perception of reality, we will understand his overall message, that is not a problem! — but we will rebel against that message. We will not accept it because it will seem to us as if Peter is writing about a world that does not actually exist.

And this is because the way Peter thinks about reality is deeply shaped by his own Jewish culture. And his Jewish culture had been deeply shaped by the Books of Moses in the Old Testament, beginning with the Book of Genesis.

And what all this means is that, if we want to truly understand and accept Peter’s message, we are going to have to learn to read Peter’s letters through Peter’s perception of reality. Which means we also need to begin with a background understanding of the Old Testament.

Which is what we have just done.

Now, Peter knew all this. Not about us, necessarily, 2000 years later! — but he knew that his original readers also thought about reality in a very, very different way than he did. His original readers were not from a Jewish background: they had grown up in the Roman empire, thinking in Roman categories, living according to Roman customs. And so Peter knew that, if he wanted them to understand and accept his message, he would need to dig down to the very foundations of their reality and use God’s words, God’s categories, to rebuild their perceptions of God’s world from the ground up.

And that is just what Peter does in his letters. Over the next few weeks, Peter is going to be reaching backwards into the history of his own Jewish people — the ancient people of Israel — and bringing forward the words and categories that had defined the Jewish understanding of reality for more than 1500 years. And then, using those words and categories as a foundation, he is going to complete the picture by showing how all those things pointed forward to Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah who became the International Messiah.

And then, after Peter has finished showing his readers how to see the structure and the history of the world through God’s eyes, he is going to explain what this new vision means for how they should live their lives in the Roman empire.

And the good news is that, on this level, Peter’s original readers were just like us. They lived in the global Roman empire; we live in a global Google empire. Just like them, our lives and cultures have been profoundly shaped by the illusion of the City of Man. Just like them, we have been taught to believe that the City of Man is all-powerful, irresistable, and that if we want to live we had better submit to that illusion.

Over the next few weeks, Peter is going to teach us how to see the structure and the history of the world through God’s eyes. His ultimate purpose is to teach us how to live as Christians in the midst of the City of Man.

And — fair warning here — we are going to struggle a bit with many of the things Peter is going to say. We are going to experience some pretty serious cognitive dissonance as God’s vision of what diversity and balance should look like collides with the City of Man’s vision of diversity and balance. It is going to be uncomfortable at times!

That is okay. When my children were small, they also thought getting their diapers changed was uncomfortable. In the same way, getting our minds changed is uncomfortable. But it will be encouraging to know that we are not alone in all this: as we are about to see, Peter’s original readers were living and working in a context almost exactly like ours. And they would have experienced the same discomfort.

So let’s get started:

[1] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ

And I think most of us are familiar with Peter: he was one of Jesus’ 12 original disciples. When Jesus first found him, he was a fisherman named Simon, and it was Jesus who gave him the nickname “Peter” — which means “The Rock”. Most likely Peter was the oldest of the original 12 disciples; and so it makes sense that, early on, Peter was one of the three lead pastors of the church in Jerusalem.

But we are going to find out later that he wrote this letter from Rome, the central capital city of the Roman empire. We do not know what he was doing in Rome. It could be that he had traveled there to encourage the church. But it is more likely that, by this point in his life, he had been arrested for sedition and was in Rome awaiting trial. And in ancient Rome, if you were found guilty of sedition against the empire, the penalty was crucifixion: soldiers would nail you to a board and then leave you hanging until you died, which usually took several uncomfortable days.

So that is the man who is writing this letter.

Who is he writing to?

To God’s elect, exiles

Mmmm. So, right away here, Peter has begun the process of redefining his readers’ reality: he starts by calling them ”God’s elect exiles”. Literally, this means, ”God’s chosen refugees”.

And so, right away, his readers experience a cognitive dissonance. Because being “God’s chosen” is a good thing — but being a refugee is a bad thing. Refugees are the opposite of chosen: they are refugees because they have been rejected by their homelands.

But there is actually a second, deeper cognitive dissonance going on here:

Because, in the Old Testament, “God’s elect” is a reference to the people of Israel. So Peter is actually telling his non-Jewish readers that they are, in fact, the new people of Israel, chosen by God from among all the nations of the world. And that is great! That is an amazingly inclusive thing for a Jewish man like Peter to say to non-Jewish people!

But, in the Old Testament, “exiles” is what Adam and Eve became after they were driven out of the garden. “Exiles” is what the people of Israel became after they were carried away from their homeland to the City of Babylon. In the Old Testament, the land of Israel was the blessed Garden of God; the City of Babylon was the cursed City of Man. And so, in the Old Testament, to be in “exile” was to live under a curse.

So Peter tells these Christians that they are now God’s blessed people of Israel! — cursed to live in exile, as refugees in the City of Man.

…what?! How does this make sense?

Well, let’s press on and see if he explains himself:

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces.

Mmmm. Okay. Being scattered is what tends to happen to exiles and refugees.

But again, this word “scattered” has a second, deeper layer of meaning, because “Scattered Ones” is what the Jews called themselves in the Roman empire. In the Old Testament, Jews who lived among the cities of the Babylonian empire were called “exiles”. But by Peter’s time, Jews who lived among the cities of the Roman empire were called “Scattered Ones” — and they always felt a bit displaced. Perhaps they were not quite under a curse, but they always felt like, if they could, they would rather live in Jerusalem, in the sacred center of the Jewish world, rather than on the fringes.

So Peter is still building on this idea that these Christians are now a new kind of Jewish people: chosen by God but…scattered, forced to live on the fringes of God’s world, away from the sacred garden at centre of reality.

And then Peter goes on to name five distinct provinces where these Christians made their homes: Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

And sure enough, these five provinces are all found in what is now called western Turkey. And at that time, these provinces were on the fringes of the Roman empire, and on the fringes of the Jewish world: these provinces are far away from Rome and far away from Jerusalem.

So that supports the idea that Peter’s readers were people who lived on the fringes, far away from the centers of power and influence.

However, these five provinces also lay at the connecting point between east and west, between Europe and Asia. So even though they were on the frontier of the empire, they were also very strategically important: whoever controlled this region controlled one whole quarter of the known world.

And that is why, at this time, these five provinces were being aggressively colonized by the Roman emperors. Beginning with Caesar Augustus — who ruled during Jesus’ life — and continuing under Caesar Claudius — who ruled during the Book of Acts — the Roman empire made a strong push to “Romanize” these five provinces.

And the way they did this was by, first, conquering or annexing local kingdoms, redrawing the provincial boundaries, and putting Roman governors in place over those new provinces.

Then they would give away plantations — free land! — to any Roman soldier who agreed to retire there. Those retired soldiers would become the new upper middle class. And of course they would live according to Roman customs, Roman values, they would insist on Roman laws.

At the same time, Rome would pour money into the territory, building brand-new Roman cities with modern amenities like running water, a proper sewage system, a proper court system, a stable currency. And these new cities would attract merchants and craftsmen from all over the empire, who would bring in new money, new languages, new ideas, new connections.

And the empire knew that, in order to rule such diverse populations, they would need to allow that diversity to continue…while at the same time undermining that diversity with Roman ideas. And so Rome’s official policy stated that the people in the provinces were free to practice any local religion they wanted — as long as they did not disturb the Roman economy, act against Roman culture, or engage in converting Roman citizens. The rule was: religious freedom! You can do whatever you like, as long as you do it in a Roman way, without offending Roman values, without breaking Roman laws.

And this all sounds very fair, doesn’t it! It sounds very open-minded and tolerant.

But all this open-minded tolerance was actually an illusion. Roman policy gave the provinces an illusion of freedom, an illusion of local self-rule — while underneath it all the great colonizing machine of the empire ate away at the foundation stones of their local cultures and economies and politics.

And this illusion is how, over the course of two or three generations, Rome would thoroughly transform entire regions of the world into their own Roman image, often with the whole-hearted cooperation of the local populations.

So, to summarize the situation here:

Because these five particular provinces were the connecting point between east and west, by the time Peter wrote this letter they were among the most diverse provinces in the whole empire.

And: because these five particular provinces were the strategic connecting point between east and west, by the time Peter wrote this letter they were also among the most Romanized provinces in the whole empire.

Which means that, even though these provinces existed on the geographic fringes of the empire, there was immense pressure on them — from within and without — to conform to Roman law, Roman values, Roman economy…Roman culture.

Does any of this sound familiar?

If we replace the word “Roman” with the word “European”, we could be talking about the history of colonial Asia, couldn’t we? If we replace the word “Romanization” with the word “Islamization” or “Secularization”, we could be talking about Malaysia right now!

So, at this point we are beginning to realize that the population Peter is writing to was a lot like ours:

There were the descendants of the original majority people, resentful over their grandfathers’ memories of a time when they were ruled by their own local kings — while at the same time they were moving to the cities, learning to speak Greek, growing rich as merchants and shopkeepers, richer than their grandfathers had ever been.

Competing with them were the foreign merchants who had moved in from other parts of the world, native Greek speakers with international connections that gave them an advantage in business.

Above them were the descendants of the original Roman colonists — the retired Roman soldiers — who owned a lot of the land, controlled a lot of the economy, and — as Roman citizens — were the only real power in politics.

And below these middle- and upper-class populations were the descendants of the slaves that Rome had brought in, by the hundreds of thousands, to build the railroads — pardon me — to build the Roman roads, and the cities, and the aquaducts and all the infrastructure that made Rome so great.

And so now as our picture of that ancient world begins to come into focus, we begin to realize why Peter has started his letter by calling his readers “exiles”, “refugees”, “strangers”, “Scattered Ones”: because, just like us, the Christians that Peter is writing to are all displaced people in one way or another. Just like us, most of the Christians Peter is writing to cannot point to some local landmark and say, “My great-great-great grandfather built this house,” or “this is my ancestral village,” or “these are the tombs of my fathers.” Just like most of us here in KL, even though they have lived in these provinces for generations they are still considered pendatang by the locals: foreigners without any real roots. Ironically, however, even those Christians who are descended from the original Sons of the Soil come from families that are just as rootless, just as displaced, because their traditional customs are also rapidly being over-written by the customs of a faraway land.

Just like us, these ancient Christians lived in a world where everything was changing all the time, where everyone was being uprooted and swept away by this tsunami that was called the Roman empire.

So when Peter starts his letter by calling them “exiles” and “Scattered Ones”, his readers were not insulted. They thought, “Yeah! That is the reality of our lives. Rich or poor, Jew or Greek, Roman or barbarian, orang asli or pendatang — we are all in the same boat here! We are all being overwhelmed by political and economic forces we can’t even understand, much less control!”

At the same time, though, Peter has also called them “God’s elect”: God’s chosen people.

And as we have already noticed, there is a tension between these two ideas: how can people be “chosen by God” and “exiles” at the same time? How can people be “chosen by God” and “homeless” at the same time?

And this tension exists because, for all of us, homelessness is a curse. From the beginning, God designed human beings to be home builders. That is what Adam and Eve were called to do in the garden: build a home for themselves, a sacred center where the diversity of all creation could live in perfect balance under the rule of God. That longing for a safe home — that longing to be in the center of things — is among our deepest and most foundational desires: it is built into our genetic code.

And this tension would have created a question in the minds of Peter’s original, just as it does for us: what are we supposed to do about our homelessness?

Now, just like today, there was already one answer on offer to the Christians of that time. Just like today, the conventional wisdom said that, if you want to survive this flood, you need to fight your way to the center of the Roman system, you need to fight your way to the source of the flood and build a new home there. If you try to hold on to your old cultural identity, you will simply be destroyed, run over, swallowed up. But if you accept a new Roman cultural identity, then you will live, you will be safe, secure, and your descendants will prosper.

Basically, the Roman empire was offering a kind of salvation from death. You die to your old barbarian culture, but you are resurrected into a new centralized civilized culture. And all you have to do to receive this salvation is submit your entire life to the Roman vision of what the world should be.

That is a powerful temptation. How many of us, if offered a choice between refugee status or citizenship, would choose refugee status? How many of us, if offered a choice between life in the center or life on the fringes, would choose life on the fringes? How many of us, if offered a choice been the curse of exile or the blessing of a homeland…how many of us would choose the curse?

But the thing is, these Christians that Peter is writing to grew up under that Roman vision of what the world should be. So they already know that the Roman version of reality is an illusion, a lie. The City of Rome promises diversity, but Roman diversity means tyrants ruling over slaves. The City of Rome promises balance, equality, but Roman equality means that everything is smashed flat.

And these Christians do not want to go back to that!

So what are they supposed to do instead? What are their other options?

Should they move away, and try to find a homeland beyond the reach of the empire?

Well, they could try. But the empire is constantly growing: its ambition is to turn the entire earth into one giant City of Rome. But even if the Roman empire fails, most likely, wherever these Christians move they will simply find themselves under the rule of yet another empire with the exact same kind of crushing ambitions.

So maybe they should stay, but form their own little Christian world, cut off from the pollution of Roman culture. That could work, right?

Except that they will still need to rely on Roman currency, Roman economic rules, which would mean getting involved in Roman politics…so one way or another, Roman culture would end up affecting their little Christian world.

So instead of cutting themselves off and simply waiting for Roman culture to infiltrate them, perhaps they should just go ahead and infiltrate Roman culture. Perhaps they should focus on cultivating relationships with wealthy benefactors. Perhaps they should focus on working Christians into the center of the Roman system, to the source of the flood —

Oh, but wait: that is the conventional wisdom they have already rejected, because they know that the promise of power at the Roman centre is actually a soul-crushing illusion…

So what should these Christians do? They cannot fully participate in the Roman world, but that cannot fully withdraw either. Should they be working to resolve their homeless status somehow? or should they simply accept it, and roll over and die?

These are very difficult questions to answer. They were difficult to answer 2000 years ago. And they are just as difficult to answer today.

Now, the good news is: Peter claims to have some answers to these questions. That is why he is writing!

The bad news is: he does not claim to have easy answers. And that’s the part that has me worried, because — to be perfectly honest with you — I prefer easy answers.

But even though I suspect that many of Peter’s answers are going to be very difficult for us to accept…still, I am very interested to find out what he has to say.

Because, friends: we need answers, today, more than ever before.

Because, however powerful the City of Rome seemed 2000 years ago, our modern Cities of Man seem almost infinitely more powerful. And year by year the global City of Man is bringing more and more pressure upon everyone to conform to some centralized norm. Some cities in our world have dispensed with illusion; they use brutality and the threat of death to make their message very clear: submit or die. Other cities have gone in the opposite direction: they have cloaked themselves in tolerance and open-mindedness…while underneath it all their great colonizing machines of language and culture are eating away at the foundations of every society on earth. Their method is very different, but the message is the same: conform, or be banished from the conversation.

Our entire world is being aggressively colonized in ways that are absolutely unprecedented in the history of mankind. Very soon there will be nowhere left to go on this planet that has not been thoroughly Romanized.

And I do mean “Romanized” literally. Historians argue that, even though the Roman empire died 1500 years ago, the ideas it planted have actually colonized every nation on earth. For instance, Islam is one of the last products of the Roman empire, and look at how much territory Islam has colonized! United Britain was a product of the Roman empire, and how much of our world was colonized by the British and their ideas? Even the great empire of China is now ruled by Roman ideas — because communism, Marxism, is ultimately a Roman product.

So we are here, in a world ruled by the global City of Rome, by the global City of Man. And the City of Man is demanding that we make a choice: submit or die. Conform, or be banished. Up to you. You are free to choose!

And until now we Christians have dodged, we have tried to ignore, we have tried to be friendly, we have even tried to take over! — but at this point we have used up all our easy answers. And none of them have worked.

So now it is time for us to return to the Word of God and seek our answers here.

And as I’ve already mentioned, I strongly suspect that the answers we find here will…will require us to wrestle with some of our most deeply held beliefs about the nature of reality. Peter is going to ask us to dig deep. He is going to ask us to question things that we do not want to question.

But I am also convinced that it will be worth it. I am convinced that, as we wrestle honestly with God’s Word here, God’s Word will also wrestle with us. We may walk away limping from this contest, but we will certainly walk away with our names changed, our identities transformed.

So far, in his very first sentence, Peter has set up a tension within his readers: we are chosen by God! and we are homeless, powerless, exposed before the all-consuming Cities of Man.

And we have responded to this tension with these very difficult questions.

Peter begins to answer our questions in the very next verse: You are God’s elect exiles [2] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood

Peter begins his answer by taking us back to the very beginning, back to the Trinity that shaped all of this in the first place:

We have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father: the God who created the heavens and the earth is the Father who had his eye on each one of us even before he moved to create anything.

We have been chosen through the sanctifying work of the Spirit: the Spirit who brooded over the darkness of the primordial universe, preparing it for the light, is the same Spirit who hovers over us now, preparing us for the world to come.

We have been chosen to be obedient to Jesus Christ: the Word that commanded light and life into the world at the beginning is the same Word that commands us to live. And where that Word speaks, nothing and no one can resist. When Jesus says, “Rise up and live!”…we live! And there is nothing the City of Man can do about that!

Peter knows that the fear of death is a strong motivator for us. He knows this because he was once strongly motivated by the fear of death: he betrayed his own friend, Jesus, because of that fear. So one of the first things Peter wants to do for us is remove that fear. He is calling upon us to lift our eyes and see the world as it really is. We are so small! Our vision is too narrow, too focused on the here and now. Look up and look back and consider how much time and space has already passed since that first sentence of scripture. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth! — and that God is our Father. Why should we be afraid of anything?

That is where Peter’s answer begins: by pointing to the foundations of reality, knowing that this change of focus will transform our perceptions of reality.

But Peter also knows that our fear of homelessness is almost as strong as our fear of death. So he also begins to answer that fear: we have been chosen to be sprinkled with his blood.

In the Old Testament, after Moses rescued God’s people from slavery in Egypt, he led them to a mountain in the Arabian desert, and God himself met them there. He told them, “I want to be your God. Do you want to be my people?” And they said, “Yes!”

So at that point, Moses sacrified a bunch of bulls and goats, and filled some giant tubs with blood. And he sprinkled the people with that blood. And as he sprinkled them, he said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

That baptism in blood turned those people into God’s people. That baptism in blood is what gave them a home. They did not have a house yet, they did not have a land — but they had a home with God.

That ancient baptism was a preview of the final baptism to come, when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would pour out his own blood upon the earth to make a home for all those who might come and be baptized into his name.

So when Peter says we have been chosen to be sprinkled with his blood, he is talking about the baptism that brought us back into the garden of God, the baptism that gave us our new international identity, a citizenship that is greater than any empire on earth.

As the children of God in this age, our vision of the future is a world-wide garden where all the diversity of creation will live in perfect balance under the rule of God. Our vision is in conflict with the City of Man. Their vision of the future is a world-wide city where life-giving diversity is discouraged, where balance is achieved at the cost of freedom. And from the very beginning of this conflict, the City of Man has appeared stronger and more real than the Garden of God.

But here, Peter is saying, “Hey! Your baptism is a real, it is your passport into a garden, a homeland, that will never perish, a kingdom that is greater and more real than any City of Man on earth!”

So, in closing here, this is our very practical application:

Whenever we begin to doubt Peter’s vision of reality, whenever the power of the City of Man begins to look greater than the power of God, this is what Peter is telling us to do: look back at your baptism, and remember what it means!

We come to Peter in doubt, asking, “What are we supposed to do about our homelessness? Should we be looking for a home among the empires of the world? Or should we just give up on the idea of having a home?”

And the beginning of Peter’s answer is this: “Oh, my dear brothers and sisters, open your eyes! We are home!”

And see: on this very special day, our Father has invited us to dinner. We have a table from which those who rule the Cities of Man have no right to eat.

So let’s eat!

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