Reader: “Anyone who trusts in him”
Response: “. . . will never be disgraced.”
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4-10
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”
And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
Reader: “This is God’s word as given to Peter.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
In today’s passage, Peter reminds us that we are “living stones”, an actual part of the Temple in which Jesus is the cornerstone. This is not pretend faith. You are part of the real thing, a world that is bigger and extends beyond what you can see. It doesn’t feel like it, does it? You are just sitting somewhere reading this. It surely doesn’t feel very spiritual. You as a “living stone” seems more like a “theological theory” than reality is my guess.The truth is, you are part of another world. We’re so often caught up in this world, that we forget about the biggest picture. Do you notice how obedience enters in here again? (v.8) How often have you heard, “But I don’t feel like it.” Obedience doesn’t rely on feelings at its core. In the Hebrew mind, “doing” is the evidence that one has heard. If there is no action, one has not heard. Look at all the examples in the Scriptures. Action is the evidence that you have heard. (In their growing up years, we sought to impress this concept upon our children―”Time to go to bed. . . I heard you . . . Are you in bed . . . I’m going . . .” with varied results!) The mercy here is that we are God’s chosen children. He called us out of our bondage to sin and now we are marked with his identity. The season of Lent is concerned with God’s recovering and restoring a people for himself. We are a part of a great exodus, an exodus from slavery to sin to freedom from sin, from darkness to light. We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation. The Tabernacle in the wilderness is us. Can you doubt we are in a wilderness? You and I are parts of God’s physical kingdom on earth. We didn’t used to be, but, having come to faith in Jesus, now we are “living stones” in his earthly Temple. So, do the work of a priest today. Bind the broken-hearted, support the weak, honor all people. Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the HolySpirit. It doesn’t really matter how you feel! Do it.
Music: “Miserere Mei” Allegri Tenebrae Choir Spectacular!
This is a setting of the confessional Psalm 51
Go forth into the world in peace, be of good courage, hold fast to that which is good, render to no one evil for evil, strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, honor all people, love and serve the Lord rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit, and may God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you now and always. Amen. ―1928 Book of Common Prayer