Left out of the Lectionary.

May 18, 2017


The first part of 1 Peter 3 never gets read in worship among congregations that use the Revised Common Lectionary.  And probably for good reason.  The passage contains advice for relationships between husbands and wives that just don't fit with our modern way of life and with the full equality of women.  If read in worship, I can only imagine that I would be so distracted by the patriarchal themes so as to to miss the rest of the reading, or even the rest of worship.


But if we don't read the offending passage:


Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, even if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing;4rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight. 5It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. 6Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you.

7 Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honour to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life—so that nothing may hinder your prayers. - 1 Peter 3.1-7


we also miss this:

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 10For
‘Those who desire life
   and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
   and their lips from speaking deceit; 
11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
   let them seek peace and pursue it. 
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
   and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ - 1 Peter 3.8-12


Unity of spirit, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind - that dear people is good relationship advice for husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, congregations and pastors.  When we strive for unity of spirit and love for one another, we are living towards the abiding-in-Jesus unity into which God invites us.  It is hard to go wrong with a tender heart and a humble mind.  As Paul says in Ephesians 5.21, "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ."


It is in this mutual submission to each other that we learn the love that binds us together.



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