In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
6 You will be a kingdom of priests for me and a holy nation. These are the words you should say to the Israelites.”
5 You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed [Isaiah 28:16]. 7 So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone. 8 This is a stone that makes people stumble and a rock that makes them fall. Because they refuse to believe in the word, they stumble. Indeed, this is the end to which they were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The dominant medieval church said professional clergy were superior, both spiritually and legally, to all other Christians. Based on the Bible’s teaching, the “Reformation” movement firmly rejected that idea. “God gave the ‘precious keys’ for heaven itself, first received in baptism, to all believers…. Luther then referred to such forgiven sinners as ‘the priesthood of all believers,’ a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5) that was not reserved for a special class of people sacramentally ordained.” *
Lord God, though I often fail you, you call me “chosen,” “holy,” part of a “royal priesthood.” Guide me each day to more fully live into the amazing titles with which you honor me. Amen.
Years ago, I was on my way back from a business trip when I caught a little of the conversation of the two people sitting next to me. They were on their way back from a mission trip, and were talking about how they were changing the world for God’s Kingdom. I got a little excited and, when they finished their conversation, I introduced myself and talked about my own love for missions. That was the disappointing moment when I found out that they had no interest in talking to me about this. It was in that awkward silence that I noticed that everything they said had been in the past tense. They had gone halfway around the world to do God’s work, but once they left that far-off land, they were essentially off-duty. God’s work wasn’t something that extended to the airplane.
Now, I’ll be honest: like most people, I’m really burnt out right now, and I can kind of relate to that. An ongoing pandemic, supply line issues, worker shortages—these are all hard things, and they make things harder for all of us. I’m a manager at a large advertising agency in Kansas City, so in addition to keeping myself together, I need to help my employees keep it together and make sure my projects keep it together. Everything feels harder right now, and that has the cumulative effect of making everything feel even harder. So reading Peter’s words—that we’re not just children of God, we’re a kingdom of priests—it’s not easy for me to feel that right now, in the face of all the stress I’m facing everywhere else. So I imagine the two people on the airplane I tried to connect with all those years ago were going through some similar exhaustion.
Looking back on the times I’ve helped people, much in the way a holy priest would, it’s a little interesting that many of those times, I wasn’t really on “priest duty.” It’s not like I’m a taxi driver and I light up my little sign so people know they can come to me for help. Many of the times I’ve helped people, I’ve been decidedly off-duty, but the opportunity presented itself, and I chose to respond. On some level, I suppose I’m glad that my capacity to help people isn’t tied to my capacity to feel priestly, but it illustrates the larger point that I never really had off hours to begin with.
If you asked me what it meant to feel like a Kansas resident, I’d probably have some vague reply about our ideals, but the reality is that it just means I live in Kansas. God’s Kingdom is much more than that, of course, and my status there is much more important than my status as a resident of Kansas, but regardless of how overwhelmed I feel, my status in the Kingdom of God is the same: I live here.
Peter’s words in today’s passage have meant different things to me at different times in my life. Sometimes they’ve been really aspirational, calling me to do greater things. Right now, they’re more of a reminder that I’m never really off duty, even if I’m having trouble feeling priestly. More than another tiring responsibility, though, it’s a reminder that no matter where I am or when it is, I’m always in a position to help someone.
* Steven Paulson, Luther for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 163.