7The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker. 16Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.
17For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?” 19Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.
Peter reappears because he is so helpfully practical. Everything he writes has to do with times of testing: meaning everything he writes is applicable to us today. So how should we spend our time in isolation? We can do all the things we want—exercise, bake bread, catch up on neglected books. We can also discipline ourselves for the sake of prayer, renewing our reliance on God. We can show love for one another through cards and phone calls. We can serve one another, and encourage each other with the work of God. Several have asked in the past weeks how we, as a church, can do something to help in this time of crisis (I’ve been wondering that plenty myself). The answer is, there is nothing new that we can do. We can worship. We can give. Above all, we can continue to be disciples of Jesus Christ, which his exactly what the world needs right now.
God, you provide the way through your Son, Jesus. Encourage us by your Spirit to follow his example in lives of prayer and devotion, service and love. In all things, and in all times, we live for the praise of your glory. Amen.