This is a Call to Worship I wrote with Miriam Wiedeback for this last Sunday's service, setting up a powerful sermon Rick preached on 1 Peter 2:18ff, a difficult passage on slaves obeying masters that he tied into revolutionary non-violence, MLK, & the presence of the kingdom (definitely worth checking out the sermon here). .
“You can kill us, but you cannot hurt us.”
These were the words of Justin Martyr, around a hundred years after Jesus, when the early church faced death in the heart of the Roman Empire. Death for their obedience to Christ.
“You can kill us…”
You can throw us to the lions, you can remove us from our jobs, you can ostracize us from the community, you can skewer us with the gladiator’s spear—and we will love you anyways.
No matter what you do, we will obey God and serve him first, and we will work for the public flourishing of God’s good world, and we will do that because Christ our King has first loved and served us. Even when we killed him.
And though you kill us, “you cannot hurt us.”
This is the cry of one who knows Christ has conquered death and the grave, has borne the injustice of the world to redeem it, has been exalted over every principality and power and government and master.
Our Resurrected King has overcome the world and now reigns over the world he’s come to save.
So there is nothing this world can do—no sword Caesar can wield, no spear the gladiator can throw, no hostility the culture of the empire can throw down—to break the power of Christ’s claim upon this world, or to take our allegiance from Him.
We will love, we will serve, in fear of God we will bend our knee before those who are good and those who are harsh, we will bear up under pain and injustice because we are conscious of God.
To suffer for doing good is to suffer as Christ suffered. To follow in the steps of the one Peter called “the suffering servant of all” The one who suffered, and died, and heals us with his wounds. He knows what we face, he has gone through it already, suffering with us and for us.
Imago Dei Community, we come today before the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Let us come in worship, knowing that the worst this world can throw may kill us, but it cannot hurt us—for we are secure in Christ. And Christ reigns victorious over the world.