By: Rev. Paul Huneke
The Festival of Peter and Paul dates from the middle of the third century and was based on the tradition that they were martyred on the same day under the persecution of Emperor Nero. They were both Apostles who gave all to the love of Jesus and to God’s mission as shown in Ephesians 1:9-10: “Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
They were both pillars of the church, both very committed to Christ but also strong personalities. They did not always agree, in fact, they were often conflicted. Take for example Paul’s comments in Galatians 2:11-14: “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. … And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. … But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” I am sure that their conversations were passionate and both thought only of what was best for the proclamation of the Gospel. I don’t doubt that there are other incidents of controversy between them.
However, these men of passion and faith also wrote these words in Peter 1:7-9: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
As well as these words in Colossians 3:12-14: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
The Convention of our church is coming up quick in just a couple of weeks. We also have servant-strong convictions and I believe a continued dedication and commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel, so that many will be saved and come to the truth of Christ. I also believe in the election process no matter how convoluted it may seem. I feel the same about the Divine Call. The Holy Spirit puts servants where they are needed both for the church and their personal growth and maturity.
In preparation for the Convention we need to practice cultivating, under God’s Word and grace, these three things: