“The main things is that you keep the main thing the main thing.” Overly simplistic saying from Germany I know, but applies when a group gets sucked into the minutia of how to keep a group going. Complications of the politics of a group can be very distracting and can tax our attention from remembering what the rallying cry is. Every group needs that rallying cry.
The Church is no exception. Those that call themselves Christian are not supposed to just have an over and done with spiritual event at conversion but continue in it and never just alone. Christians are supposed to commune of Christ and with each other. And both aspects not in a way that is dry or intellectual.
Simon Peter, who we have seen to be a work of progress while in progress, hits this theme here.
1 Peter 2:4-9
4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,”
8 and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Peter had been learning for years in the context of the Holy Spirit and community that Jesus is living through His followers with paradoxical, familial and liturgical imagery.
though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight,
This is a fine point on how to perceive Jesus from a discipleship perspective. Before we can take up our cross we should appreciate the paradox that Jesus was favored by God but rejected by man. The lesson for the young Church was that rejection of man does not take away the value of God’s love for us.
and 5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
That “and” depends on us resting on knowing how precious we are because Christ is in our hearts.
But notice the repeated term of “living” in this same passage. There are two reasons for this, I suspect, that Peter is motivated by. First, his famous confession of Jesus was that He was “The Christ, the Son of the living God.” If we rest on Christ, the solid cornerstone, then the living nature of His sonship, anointing and divine nature is appropriated to us. And it is indeed a rest because the wording is passive with “let yourself….”
to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
But just because we can be in a rest, that does not mean that we don’t respond in context of the cross. It is easy to think that only someone special with robes can direct a concentrated offering of worship to God. Though there is clearly a mandate for a liturgical priesthood, anyone who is a Christian is a priest by the graces of baptism. And we do not do that by the merits of our works alone but by the faith and work infused especially in the Eucharist: receiving Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity.
Am I making a jump? There is some light in the passage below.
Phillipians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
The connection is in thanksgiving. The primary language of worship to God is in with that and went by the Greek word eucharistia. Why is the Lord near? The natural habitat for scripture in in the mass where the body of the Lord is discerned and consumed. But for those that have dull vision, then the experience is blurry at best and there is no response to His grace.
So next Pope Peter gets into the details even deeper (see last blog) on what the identity of the gospel is on a macro level for those who receive it.
But you are a chosen race,
We are used to racial concepts as a social construct. But the social construct that should result where the gospel hits is an equal reconciliation with God and each other. “Red, and yellow, black and white we are precious in His sight”.
a royal priesthood,
There is the liturgical reference again. But this time it has a reference of authority. We should not take the sacrifice of Jesus as savior if we remember He is first Lord.
a holy nation,
A nation has borders, language and culture. Our border is the line of redemption. Our language is thanksgiving in the mass and our culture is found in the debt to love.
God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
This points to another corporate mission of all believers whether they are formal ministers or not: to be ambassadors for outreach. We should be so transformed that we point to Jesus through living out the calling we have.
It all starts with coming to Him. What is stopping us?