Saturday, January 4, 2014

God’s own people.

1Peter 2:1  Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2  Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation-- 3  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 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. 10  Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

This is a letter written to people on the fringes of Roman society. It is believed to have been written at the end of the first century in Asia Minor, where followers of Jesus were being persecuted for their faith. The message is one of encouragement -  it urges the readers to believe that “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people”. These are not words for people who want to claim that they alone are special to God. It is, instead, an invitation to marginalized people not to accept their inferior persecuted status as the will of God.

Many people still find themselves on the fringes of society, excluded because of factors such as sexual orientation, nationality, or economic disadvantage. The words of 1 Peter 2 hold the same invitation for those who are marginalized today – do not accept the rejection and exclusion shown to you by the powerful. Instead discover that you too are God’s own people.

The week of New Year’s Day
6. Chosen to be God’s children
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 46.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.    

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