Day 21

December 23

I Peter 1:3-9

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Our Hope of Eternal Life

by Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W.

As Peter ends his greetings at the end of verse 2, he says “May God give you more and more grace and peace.” This is one of the few times in life that we find that the results are sequential. He is telling the readers if they are to have the deep abiding peace of our life with Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we must experience grace first before we can experience peace. Grace is a Greek concept that is directly tied to God’s work in our redemption. Peace is a Hebrew concept that focuses on the condition of our hearts when grace has been at work.   

Peter talks about each of these before he goes deeper into the importance of the salvation experience that his readers, as new believers, were experiencing amid extensive persecution. Grace. Peace. 

These words serve as the foundation of our scripture reflection for today which is based on Hope. In its simplest meaning, Hope is anticipating that something is going to happen or that something might be achieved. In the Message translation, Peter assures the new believers that God is watching over all that is being experienced. Peter continues to remind the new believers that their love of God, whom they have not seen, is real to them and with them constantly. 

I have found the mentoring role with students provides great joy in my life. I always find these experiences to be so meaningful. They provide person-centered opportunities that allow us to act on Grace, Peace, Hope, and Faith. I often find myself surprised with what I learn.   

Students choose Baylor. They are excited to be here. They have come to us with the Hope that we will provide in their lives those skills, knowledge, research, connections, and expertise that they will be their best at what they feel led to do with their chosen degrees. They truly Hope those things will happen. 

I am sensing and experiencing a new whirlwind of the Spirit of God. Interestingly, I am finding that students, overall, are yearning to learn more about Grace, this movement of God in our hearts. I had a student share with me recently that faith had not been important in prior life experiences. My mentee further shared that she had been thinking about Faith so much since coming to Baylor. “It is everywhere I turn. That has made me start thinking about it more than ever in my life.” 

Our Hope as a university in achieving R1 status has been filled with the expectation that our research would reflect the depth of our Faith and that our Faith would be reflected in our research. We have a commitment to reflect to the world that Grace (from Jesus) is alive in us, all over our campus, everywhere we all turn!  

About the Author

Gaynor Yancey, Ph.D.

Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W.

Gaynor I. Yancey, D.S.W., has served for more than 24 years as a professor in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, Waco, TX. Yancey serves as the Director of the Center for Church and Community Impact (C3I), the Lake Family Endowed Chair in Congregational and Community Health and is designated as a Master Teacher. She worked for more than 25 years as a Congregational Community Ministries Director, working with congregations in Philadelphia, PA. Additionally, she served as the Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank for 4 years.  

Yancey has authored and co-authored numerous professional articles and book chapters, predominantly focused on congregational community ministry and community-based practice towards social justice, including a co-authored book with Dr. Diana R. Garland, Congregational Social Work. She was selected as Outstanding Teacher by the student body at Eastern University for two consecutive years in 1997 and 1998 and as Outstanding Teacher at Baylor University in 2006. Dr. Yancey was the first recipient of the Clovis A. Brantley Award for Outstanding Service in Christian Social Ministries in the United States. Additionally, she received the Marie Mathis Award for Outstanding Life Achievement in Lay Ministry by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baylor University, the Life-time Achievement award by the Texas National Association of Social Workers—Central Texas Chapter, and a Life-time Achievement award by East Texas Baptist University. Besides teaching and her community service, she has served as the Baylor University Faculty Ombudsperson and a Faculty Regent on Baylor’s Board of Regents. She was chosen by Baylor University as the recipient of the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year award in 2019, and she is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Award by the Baylor Line Alumni Association in 2020.