December 13, Sunday

1 Peter 2:5-9 (NRSV)

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. 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.” 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,” 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.

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.

Have you ever wanted to go home but just couldn’t?  Even if we have not personally experienced that longing, we are surrounded by images and stories of separation and displacement. From Syrian refugees fleeing their homes to those coming across the southern U.S. border looking for a better life. This kind of real, physical, and existential loss is similar to the experiences of the recipients of 1 Peter. Their spiritual home, the temple, had been destroyed by the military might of Rome and many of them had lost their physical homes. They had become outcasts, refugees and resident aliens scattered and fleeing for their lives.

1 Peter reminds us that God’s presence isn’t in stone or in a building but in the people of Jesus who claim him as Lord. Therefore, Christians aren’t merely victims or passive observers to the pain and hurt in our world. They are agents of hope and healing. How then should we both live and proclaim this one who resides in us? Mennonite theologian Jerry Truex answers that question saying that Christians “do not need to search for home; they can choose to be home and family for the homeless. They do not need to wonder where God is in all of this; they can choose to be the place of God’s presence in the world here and now. In this way, they are the people of God.”

Through our actions this advent, may we allow God’s presence in our lives to “proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

How is your church being the people of God to those in your community?

Lord may we sense your presence in our lives and in our churches, and may that sense fling us out into the world to love, care and be present for those in need. Amen.

By Chris Ellis, Minister of Mission and Outreach
Second Baptist Church, Little Rock


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